The NRL (National Rugby League) has come under fire after controversial figures appeared in its crowds of cardboard cutouts and were broadcast live.
Rugby league, one of Australia’s most popular sports, got back underway over the weekend after a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With no fans allowed to attend, the NRL gave supporters the chance to have their face on a cutout in stadiums.
The vast majority of cutouts featured fans, but an image of serial killer Dr Harold Shipman appeared in the match between the Panthers and Knights on Sunday.
Fox Sports Australia was then criticised after an image of Adolf Hitler was photoshopped into a crowd for a segment on its Sunday Night With Matty Johns programme.
Fox Sports released a statement. It said: "Fox Sports is very concerned by an incident involving an inappropriate image shown as part of a segment discussing NRL crowd cutouts."
“We are currently reviewing the circumstances and examining the action we need to ensure those involved understand it is not acceptable.
“We sincerely apologise for the offence the image has caused."
The @NRL has provided the following statement to @SBSNews after a cardboard cutout of serial killer Harold Shipman appeared yesterday.— Adrian Arciuli (@Adrian_Arciuli) June 1, 2020
"We are reviewing the vetting process for Fan In The Stand. The weekend was a trial run and trials are designed to iron out issues." pic.twitter.com/ildgSBuCLv
Alex Ryvchin, co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, later tweeted: "This sort of stupidity, the casualisation of Hitler, Nazis, and by extension their crimes, is what leads to swastikas being graffitied throughout our cities and school kids being harassed with gas chamber jokes. @MattyShowsFox should tell their viewers it's not on."
He said: “The segment on my Fox League show on Sunday in which we showed an image of Hitler in crowd cut outs was in poor taste and completely inappropriate.”
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