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skip n bigotry

February 14, 2013

night-skipping-girl

“Victorian’s love their Skipping Girl and she has formed
part of the Melbourne skyline for 75 years.”

So says the website detailing the history of “Little Audrey” and I have no reason to doubt it. I was born and bred in Melbourne and the Skipping Girl sign has been ever present in my memory of Melbourne’s skyline.

So to discover that the name and image of “Little Audrey” had been adopted by bigots was a shock.

Geert Wilders, the controversial Dutch politician with strong views about Islam, is soon to visit Australia. His tour is being presented by the Q Society of Australia. It would be safe to say that the Q Society of Australia shares similar views of Islam to those of Mr Wilders.

In my opinion their views are among the strongest and vilest examples of Islamophobia. You can look at their site and make up your own mind.

On the site promoting Geert Wilders’ Tour visitors are encouraged to:

Please visit our online shop at www.skipngirl.com.au/qshop and order Geert Wilders Australia Tour 2013  fundraiser t-shirts as well as his new book “Marked for Death”.

The name and logo of this site are clearly an appropriation of the Skipping Girl sign. If there is any doubt the larger image appearing here leaves no doubt.

skipngirl

The About Us section clearly sets out that:

“SkipnGirl Productions P/L (SGP) is a 100% Australian-owned company. SGP donates all proceeds (after cost and taxes) from the sale of fundraiser products to Q Society of Australia Inc.”

I find it outrageous that an organisation that promotes intolerance would appropriate an image and a name beloved of most Melbournians.

I wonder how the owners of the sign and those who worked to restore the sign feel about this appropriation. Are they aware? They soon will be as I have emailed them asking that very question and asking for comment.

It will be interesting to read their responses, but in the meantime I ask my fellow Melbournians how do you feel about this misuse of a Melbourne icon?

.
Update

A response from AGL:

Thanks for your email. Far as I know Audrey’s image is in the public domain. I don’t believe her name ‘Skipping Girl Vinegar Sign’ or variations thereof are trademarked and as such open for use by other organisations/businesses.

 In fact there are a few organisations that refer to the name and also market merchandise sporting her likeness.

I have copied in Matt Spring, who  represents the Skipping Girl’s Owners Corporation and the media unit of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), in case they feel this warrants investigation or wishes to provide comment.

 AGL declines to comment.

 Regards,

There was no response from National Trust Media Unit or Vantage Properties (the Owners Corporation)

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