South Australian Police Minister Corey Wingard has come under for fire for creating a meme making fun of a man walking behind him and the Deputy Premier in Adelaide’s Hindley Street.
- SA Police Minister Corey Wingard creates Thug Life meme of man on Hindley Street
- Opposition says he should grow up and “start acting like a Minister”
- Mr Wingard says the man was in on the joke and they were all “having a laugh”
Mr Wingard has removed the video from his Facebook page after the Labor Party called on him to “grow up” and not ridicule South Australians.
He has refused to apologise for it.
In the video, the man can be seen walking behind Mr Wingard and Attorney-General Vickie Chapman while carrying a boombox and with his large belly exposed in front of the Hindley Street police station.
The video then stops, turns grey and animated sunglasses appear on the man along with the words “Thug Life”.
The “Thug Life” meme usually makes fun of teenagers being overly confrontational or swearing.
Opposition transport spokesman Tom Koutsantonis, who has previously been rebuked for his use of expletives, said the video was “appalling”.
“I think anyone watching that video would think, ‘Was that posted by a Minister of the Crown or a website poking fun at people?'” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“I mean, lets face it, Corey Wingard isn’t running S***Adelaide.”
S***Adelaide is an anonymous satirical Instagram account known for poking fun at people and using memes.
“He [Mr Wingard] has no idea of the position of this man he poked fun of as he walked behind him and the Attorney-General,” Mr Koutsantonis said.
“I’ve got to say, I think Corey Wingard’s humour has a lot to be desired of and I think quite frankly he should apologise to the people of South Australia, take down that video and grow up and start acting like a Minister, not some kid.”
Corey Wingard (left) with Premier Steven Marshall and Child Protection Minister Rachel Sanderson. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch)
Minister says the man was in on the joke
Mr Wingard denied the video was inappropriate and said the man knew he was being filmed.
“He was having a laugh, we were having a laugh, I think it’s in very good spirits and [I’m] always up for a laugh,” he said.
He said he took down the video after “someone was offended” and not because of a potential breach of the ministerial code of conduct, which says a Minister “shall not dishonestly or wantonly and recklessly attack the reputation of any other person”.
“I think it’s appropriate to have a laugh in this day and age,” he said.
“This guy wanted to have a bit of fun and I’m all up for fun — there’s no doubt about that.”
Soon after being elected in March, Mr Wingard was ridiculed for rebuking a new Labor MP for delivering a box of doughnuts to a northern suburbs fire station on International Firefighters’ Day without his permission.
He was also criticised for overstepping his ministerial role by saying the elite STAR Group would be brought in to control wild parties and rock-throwing in the southern suburbs.
His own Facebook page says comments should be made “in a respectful manner” and “not indulge in personal attacks”.
The video was being shot to promote the State Government’s extension of the “declared public precinct” around Hindley Street, which allows police to conduct searches using metal detectors, check people for drugs and order people to leave the precinct.