Advertisement

Busker Calls Aboriginal Deaths In Custody Protesters 'Rude' For Interrupting Her Show

A busker claimed those campaigning for Indigenous justice on International Human Rights Day were "scaring everyone" away from her performance.

UPDATE: Tanya George has issued an apology over the incident.

Busker Tanya George, 25, a familiar face to pedestrians on Bourke Street Mall, pleaded with protesters to set aside their cause so she could complete her set.

Footage of George arguing with attendees -- which included the sister of Wayne 'Fella' Morrison, Latoya Aroha Rule -- was captured by onlookers.

"Hey guys, I've got five more minutes and then I'm out of here," she implored the group, who held placards with the faces of First Nations men and women found dead in police custody.

"I'm trying to make money here. I live on the streets and you're f*cking s*it up for me, Jesus Christ," she continued.

One frustrated attendee could be heard off-camera as she scolded George for her stance.

"You have this space every day! We can't get half an hour to speak about human rights? For God's sake. First come, first served!"

Other people joined in and called out the singer -- who is described as "a proud representative of the LGBTQ community, a vegan and believer in gender equality" in her artist bio -- by her name.

George captured the scenario on her Instagram and later deleted the video.

She filmed the protesters in action and captioned the footage with, "I hate this", "This makes me mad" and "Just rude".

After she turned the camera to herself, she called the protest "annoying".

"I'm all for this kind of stuff but when they do it and ruin my show, I'm really mad. It's really frustrating.

"They scare everyone off... ruins my show and means I don't make anything and I've wasted my day."

Latoya Aroha Rule spoke at the rally on her late brother Wayne Morrison, an Indigenous man who died in September 2016 after being restrained while on remand in a South Australian jail.

Rule later shared her dismay in Tanya's response and asked followers to boycott the musician.

Australia's Indigenous community makes up three percent of the country's population, yet they are disproportionately incarcerated.

Since The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody ended in 1991, First Nations incarceration and police custody rates have increased.

There have been more than 407 Indigenous deaths in custody since the commission, according to a 2018 study by The Guardian.

The investigation also found over half of the Indigenous people who died in custody since 2008 had not been found guilty.

In a statement George said she apologised for her "inexcusable and disrespectful behaviour."

"I am absolutely beside myself, deeply ashamed and embarrassed of my actions," she said.

"At the time I did not know what the protest was about and only considered how it affected me and for this I am truly sorry."

10 daily has reached out to Tanya George for further comment.

Featured image: Twitter.

Contact the author: samelia@network10.com.au