Drag star Karen from Finance apologises after outcry over racist tattoo


karen from finance drag queen rupaul's drag race down under racist tattoo melbourne
Photo: Eric Brumfield

Melbourne drag queen Karen From Finance has issued an apology for previously getting a racist tattoo that the performer says she’s long since covered up.

The golliwog is a racist caricature of Black people, usually depicted in the form of a child’s rag doll. The characters were common in children’s books in the late 19th century, but are now widely considered racist and offensive.

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Growing up, Karen From Finance had a collection of the golliwog soft toys. And in 2010, she decided to get one tattooed on herself.

This week, Drag Race fans posted photos of both Karen’s collection and her tattoo on Reddit to a mixed response.

Overnight Karen took to Instagram to issue a “formal apology” to fans. She said she was writing “in the spirit of being open and upfront with my friends, family and followers.”

“I would like to address and formally apologise for a part of my past,” the drag queen wrote.

“Something that I’ve long been remorseful for and admittedly ashamed to share.

KKKaren From Finance possibly setting the tone for Drag Race Down Under from r/RPDRDRAMA

“Eleven years ago, I had a collection of golliwog dolls – a collection that began when I was two years old.

“And I made the uninformed, ignorant and regrettable decision to have one of these dolls tattooed.

“In the years following, and more notably after being interviewed by someone writing an opinion piece in a tattoo magazine, I realised how insensitive and hurtful this was.”

Karen from Finance had previously covered the tattoo

Karen from Finance said she had “of course no intention of malice” but described the tattoo as “irresponsible and stupid”.

“So I disposed of the dolls to landfill and had my tattoo covered,” she wrote on Instagram.

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“Since then, I’ve committed to an ongoing journey of accountability, activism and education, and to uncover and unlearn any and all racial bias – conscious or unconscious – that may or may not be embedded within me.

“It has always been important to me that I use my platform for good whilst ensuring a safe community for anyone I am fortunate enough to have follow my journey.

“I can’t change the past, but I can and will work on the present and do better in the future, and with that you forever have my word.”

Karen widely tipped to compete on Drag Race Down Under

RuPaul’s Drag Race fans are convinced Karen from Finance is appearing on the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under.

Earlier this month, RuPaul, Michelle Visage and a group of Australian and New Zealand queens finished filming in Auckland.

Drag Race Down Under will screen in Australia on streaming service Stan later in the year.

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