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A TV presenter and her husband have sparked outrage after dressing as Wuhan street bat sellers for Halloween.3
Australian Sky News star Caroline Marcus and Jake Swarts shared photos of their controversial outfits on Instagram.
They wore white aprons with street vendor baskets around their necks, which had two babies dressed as bats nestled inside.
The baskets advertised the "Wuhan bats", while Caroline joked about flogging the babies off in a "two-for-one, extra good price for you Wuhan special" deal.
Captioning an Instagram story, she said one baby didn’t seem "too happy about being hawked off" in the offer.
But the glamorous reporter added: "Our baby is totally cool with it, though, so any takers?"
She captioned the snaps in a post: "Because what could seriously be more terrifying in 2020 than a couple of Wuhan street vendors hawking one very edible bat?"
Caroline, a columnist for the Daily Telegraph in Australia, added emojis of a bat and a bowl of soup.
The costumes sparked an online backlash and accusations of racism for focusing on the Chinese city where coronavirus originated from, MailOnline reports.
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One social media user claimed it was "inappropriate and racist", while another described it as "beyond awful".
Writer Lavender Bajuser blasted her on Twitter for the "horrible, racist Halloween costume".
One social media user wrote: "This is really disturbing.
"I hope you'll take a step back and consider how offensive this might be to a group of people, particular (sic) during this time when violence is being perpetrated against people of Asian backgrounds because of views like this."
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However, some social media users found the costumes funny while others defended the TV star.
Media personality Jacinta Tynan, a former Sky News presenter, said "that’s the best" and added "crying with laughter" emojis.
Another Instagram user wrote: "This is brilliant!"
While one said: "Best idea ever…I'll take one…do you ship?"
Caroline has since made her Instagram account private.
Jieh-Yung Lo, from the Australian National University Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership, told HuffPost Australia Chinese people "around the world have experienced verbal abuse and physical assault" since the start of the pandemic.
He said using geographical locations when naming illnesses "stigmatises the people living there as well as those of similar appearances outside".
But Ky Chow, a freelance journalist and media consultant, defended Caroline, who is from Singapore, as being "absolutely not racist".
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