Representatives from the Dutch Embassy in Canberra have today responded to local criticism of its country’s traditional Christmas character, Black Pete, by announcing they will be replacing him immediately with a new Xmas character designed to be more culturally sensitive, Squinty Steve.
The controversy started when some Dutch staff at its Australian-based embassy this week decked themselves out in ‘Black-Face’ to represent ‘Black Pete’, who, according to Dutch storybooks, is one of Santa’s most adorably incompetent “helpers” who earns no wage and just happens to be black.
Dutch Ambassador Fokje Modder responded to the public outcry over the offensive nature of the character by promising that he would be immediately withdrawn, and that a new and more 21st century persona called ‘Squinty Steve’ will replace him.
“Squinty Steve is the result of the work of the Netherlands’ most talented character designers,” Mr Modder told reporters.
“He is the perfect embodiment of the modern, more Asian-centric world and we hope children everywhere will enjoy his candy chopsticks and gummy glasses for years to come.”