Yesterday it was brought to our attention that Otis Carey and his family were offended by a term used in the article, Poetry Night With Mermaid Killer, published in the March issue of Surfing Life.
Upon the original edit of the magazine, we read the offending term as a jibe at the stereotypical surfer – and failed to see the racist connotations. Immediately upon being made aware of these, we offered our unreserved apologies, which they were gracious enough to receive.
At Surfing Life, we absolutely abhor racism of any kind and actively work to eradicate it from our culture. In the same issue, we extended five pages of free advertorial space to a charity active in remote Indigenous communities and while our respect for Otis is primarily driven by his incredible talent as a surfer, we also admire the fact he is a role model for many Indigenous Australians.
On a personal note, our Editor Wade Davis is a man of colour whose maternal family immigrated to Australia from Africa. He also has Indigenous heritage on his paternal side and is exceptionally sensitive to the challenges and issues racism presents in our community. Davis is devastated that a thoughtless misread could have allowed an insensitive and damaging term to have slipped through to publication.
Unfortunately, none of this changes Otis’, or his family’s hurt. We have since amended our digital edition of the magazine, published this apology online and continue to offer our apologies to the Carey family and Indigenous community overall. Otis’ family requested that we not contact him at this time and we continue to respect their wishes.
– Surfing Life