Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan slams ‘sexualised’ cartoon by Mark Knight depicting her naked

Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan has taken aim at a cartoonist over a naked drawing of her, calling it “sexualised” and saying “it’s 2023”.

The cartoon by Mark Knight was published in the Herald Sun on Tuesday, and depicted the premier walking naked on a catwalk at Melbourne Fashion Week.

Parts of her body were pixelated and the caption at the bottom of the cartoon read: “From the Commonwealth Games cancellation collection … The Premier’s new clothes”.

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On Tuesday morning, Allan was asked what she thought about the cartoon during a press conference at a Craigieburn school.

“It’s 2023. I think it’s pretty reasonable to expect that the Herald Sun in-house cartoonist should be able to draw women without using sexualised imagery,” she said.

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“They’ve done that. It’s a matter for them.

“We’re here working with students and schools about how to expand education opportunities. I think how they explain what’s appeared today is very much a matter for them.”

Allan was then asked if she had ever seen a male politician depicted naked on a catwalk and she said: “Not to my recollection”.

“I’d suggest it’s not just women in positions like mine. I think all women deserve to open the paper, look at images that are there for public consumption and not see sexualised imagery to represent them,” she said.

“I think that’s pretty reasonable for women of any generation, of any era, but particularly in 2023 — it’s not the 1950s.

“Particularly for younger women, I would hope they see this for what it is and that they continue to pursue whatever career or goal or aspiration (they want).”

Victoria’s Minister for Education Ben Carroll also commented on the cartoon, saying it is “incredibly disappointing”.

Victoria’s Minister for Education Ben Carroll also commented on the cartoon, saying it is ‘incredibly disappointing’. Credit: Con Chronis/AAP

“It takes me back to when Julia Gillard resigned and she spoke about wanting the next woman in a leader position to not have to go through what she did,” he said.

“And as the Premier said, in 2023 to be going through that sexualised imagery … That misogynistic-type portrayal … Is just not on.

“Read the room. We’ve just had the report handed down talking about supporting women in leadership positions that they’re the most qualified they’ve ever been.

“That’s what we should be focusing on. How do we support women going on to be successful leaders and how do we keep investing in them and giving everything we can to support them going forward. Not betraying them.”

On social media many labelled the cartoon as “inappropriate and disgusting,” while some said they didn’t see it as a sexualised image.

Knight insisted he didn’t draw the cartoon for the sake of depicting a naked premier but rather to reference the folktale and evidence led at the Games inquiry on Monday.

“It’s not sexualised imagery,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“I felt that some of the information that was coming out left the premier a little bit exposed and my cartoonist brains clicked into gear and it was fashion week and, I thought, ‘well, this is not a bad idea’.”

The Walkley Award-winning cartoonist pointed to his past work drawing former prime minister Tony Abbott in budgie smugglers as proof of him practising equal opportunity mockery.

Knight courted global controversy in 2018 for his depiction of tennis legend Serena Williams throwing a tantrum during that year’s US Open final.

– With AAP

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