Louis Beers is an Australian comedian who performs under the stage name King Billy Cokebottle. He has attracted controversy as his performance involves him wearing blackface to impersonate an Aboriginal Australian. Beers, a Dutch immigrant to Australia, has performed as King Billy since the 1970s. Changing attitudes towards the use of blackface and towards racism in Australia have led to Beers to receive less work in recent years. Despite the contents of his performance, Beers has denied allegations of racism and claims to have Aboriginal family members.

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  • Louis Beers is an Australian comedian who performs under the stage name King Billy Cokebottle. He has attracted controversy as his performance involves him wearing blackface to impersonate an Aboriginal Australian. Beers, a Dutch immigrant to Australia, has performed as King Billy since the 1970s. Changing attitudes towards the use of blackface and towards racism in Australia have led to Beers to receive less work in recent years. Despite the contents of his performance, Beers has denied allegations of racism and claims to have Aboriginal family members. In July 2002 the Crown Casino cancelled a scheduled Beers performance after receiving complaints from various Aboriginal and other ethnic community groups. In the same month Aboriginal activist John Kelly-Country lodged a complaint against Beers with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. After the Commissioner terminated the complaint in March 2003, Kelly-Country commenced proceedings against Beers in the Federal Magistrates Court in Darwin, claiming that Beers' performance breached Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Amongst the orders sought by Kelly-Country were a prohibition against Beers making recordings or performing live shows, a public apology, financial penalty and compensation for humiliation. Beers successfully represented himself in the case, which ended in May 2004 with the determination that while his performance was offensive, it was exempted under Section 18D of the Act as an artistic works. The case has subsequently been discussed in relation to the operation of the Act and proposed revisions would remove Section 18C. Leaders of other Aboriginal interest groups have been reported as not taking issue with Beers' performance. (en)
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  • Louis Beers is an Australian comedian who performs under the stage name King Billy Cokebottle. He has attracted controversy as his performance involves him wearing blackface to impersonate an Aboriginal Australian. Beers, a Dutch immigrant to Australia, has performed as King Billy since the 1970s. Changing attitudes towards the use of blackface and towards racism in Australia have led to Beers to receive less work in recent years. Despite the contents of his performance, Beers has denied allegations of racism and claims to have Aboriginal family members. (en)
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  • King Billy Cokebottle (en)
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  • male (en)
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