THE men behind the masks at the centre of the Hey Hey It’s Saturday race furore have hired a crisis public relations firm to manage the global fallout from the controversy.
The six Sydney doctors, who painted their faces black and donned Afro wigs in the “Jackson Jive” skit have gone into hiding since the show was slammed as racist by guest judge Harry Connick Jr, who was openly offended by the antics watched by a TV audience of 2.3 million.
Plastic surgeon Anand Kumaradeva, who painted his face white to play Michael Jackson, left the country with his family on Friday for a holiday, The Sunday Telegraph reports.
The Sydney University graduate swiftly hired crisis PR manager Matthew Horan on a pro-bono basis to protect them from the global backlash, which included criticism from Michael Jackson’s family.
Mr Horan, from the firm Cato Counsel, also represented embattled Pacific Brands when it decided to sack 1200 manufacturing workers, virtually ending local production.
- See : Driving future strength, growth, profitability and sustainability (February 25, 2009) | Defend Sue Morphet! (February 28, 2009).
Michael Jackson’s brothers Marlon, Tito and Jackie have since thanked Harry Connick Jr.
Marlon told reporters the family understood the men weren’t deliberately being disrespectful.
“Man, if they turned up looking like that in the United States …” he said.
“We thank Harry for speaking out, but we also understand that they weren’t trying to be disrespectful to us.”
The other members of the singing group include [radiologist] Suresh [de] Silva, paediatrician Joseph Macdessi, anaesthetist Harry Koumoukelis, [cardiologist] Mark Sader and [urologist] David Jefferson.
Dr Sader refused to comment when contacted by The Sunday Telegraph.
“We’ve said what we wanted to,” he said. “We have already given detailed responses, no takers for more.”
Earlier this week, Dr da Silva said the same skit was met with great acclaim 20 years ago when they were first on Hey Hey, and even a few months ago when they performed at the University of Sydney Medical Revue.
See also : Hey Hey It’s Saturday (c. October 7, 1979) (October 9, 2009).