Satire website Betoota Advocate has copped heavy criticism from some of its followers for a pair of posts about the anti-lockdown protests in Sydney.
The satirists who have made a specialty out of spoofing politicians and Baby Boomers managed to trigger their fanbase with the posts. The first, posted on Saturday, had the headline “Thousands march to highlight understandable distrust of PM’s s***house public health messages”.
“The descent into violence in the Sydney march speaks to the bigger issue that the fear surrounding the jabs … Conspiracies thrive when working people have their self-worth stripped from them by a government who couldn’t even organize enough jabs to prevent this situation,” the accompanying text said.
“While the march organisers insist it was ‘simply about freedom’, the anti-medical undertows were very present, proving the movement has grown in leaps and bounds ever since the concerted effort by Scott Morrison and News Corp to publicly undermine trust in our leading health experts to protect this government.”
The second came the following day and was titled “’ Stupid bogans’ to blame for yesterday, not lack of JobKeeper or insufficient supply of jabs”. It said the media and politicians would be relieved the protests happened because it would “take the heat off their friends in the government who have spent months cornering distressed citizens into finding comfort in unhelpful conspiracies”.
Whereas the average Betoota Advocate story posted to Instagram last week drew about 680 comments, each protest post garnered more than 3400 comments.
The comment section under each post was filled with overwhelmingly negative comments, with many saying they were “disappointed” and that the posts were “tone-deaf” and “missed the mark”.
“This point stinks … normally you’re on point, but this one couldn’t be further from it,” one person wrote. “This headline is a disgrace,” another one wrote. The first post got more than 24,00 likes and the second more than 42,000, compared with an average of about 26,000 likes per post in the same week.
The protest march under the banner seeking “freedom” from Sydney’s tough Covid-19 restrictions drew thousands of people to the city’s center, where some demonstrators clashed with police.
Some people present carried signs with anti-vaccination messages and misleading slogans claiming Covid-19 statistics are “false”. Most marchers would have breached the lockdown rules, and the rally has so far led to more than 60 arrests and dozens of charges.
The NSW Police Commissioner said on Monday a special strike force would continue to investigate after members of the public provided more than 10,000 tips to Crime Stoppers.
More than 2200 people have been infected with coronavirus during the current outbreak in NSW. The state government has struggled to tamper down the spread even with increasingly tougher restrictions and a lockdown that has entered its fifth week.
Although there are disaster payments and other grants available, the federal government has refused to reinstate the JobKeeper payments available for most of last year.
The Prime Minister, whose government is responsible for sourcing coronavirus vaccinations, was forced to apologize last week for the slow pace of the jab rollout. The Betootoa Advocate has been contacted for comment.