Rupert Murdoch’s company News Corp has been banned from participating in Melbourne Pride after running a cartoon depicting LGBT activists as Nazis in The Australian.
The controversial drawing, illustrated by cartoonist Bill Leak, displayed the title ‘Waffen – SSM’ – a reference to Hitler’s military.
The divisive image was published earlier this year as Australia stood divided on the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage.
Jewish LGBTI group Aleph Melbourne announced it would not participate if News Corp Australia remained a sponsor of Midsumma, Melbourne’s LGBT Pride festival.
After mounting pressure, Midsumma has decided to sever ties with News Corp.
— Aleph Melbourne (@alephmelbourne) November 25, 2016
“We are…now acutely aware that continued community concerns are threatening to fracture our communities in potentially destructive ways,” a statement from the organization read.
“We are still facing heartbreaking pressure about the issue, through a multitude of public and private channels.”
A News Corp Australia spokesperson told BuzzFeed that it understands and respects the festival’s decision to part ways.
“News Corp constantly reviews its sponsorship arrangements and the decision by any event to cease, change or reframe its sponsorship priorities would not necessarily preclude us from seeking to partner with that event, or a similar event, in future,” the spokesperson said.
“Our partnerships, like our content, reflect the multitude of people and personalities, views and opinions on offer throughout our state,” they concluded. “On any given day, readers will see a wide range of views in our newspapers and websites.”