Chris Lilley faces criticism for “blackface” in new Netflix series ‘Lunatics’

He's been criticised for the character of Jana.

Australian comedian Chris Lilley is facing criticism for using what many have seen to be blackface in the first trailer of new Netflix series Lunatics.

The Summer Heights High creator has previously been condemned for his use of blackface, and an introduction to a new character has reignited the debate once more.

In the first look at the 10-part Netflix series, we meet Jana, who is described as a “South African lesbian and a pet psychic”. But critics have pointed out the fact that Jana has an Afro and speaks in a distinct South African accent.


“There is absolutely no way to justify blackface in 2019. Fuck Chris Lilley, and fuck anyone who works with him,” wrote one user.

Another said: “Why the fuck is Chris Lilley being funded and applauded for cultural (and disability appropriation) again? Why is Netflix airing this Lunatics tripe? (Disclaimer: I used to watch and enjoy his shows years ago but learnt how damaging he is and threw out the DVDs).”

However, others were keen to point out that the 44-year-old could be portraying a Rachel Dolezal style character, after it was revealed that in 2015 that she was tanning her skin in order to pose as African American.


“Ah the Twittersphere is getting woke about Chris Lilley. You actually wouldn’t meet a nicer man,” wrote one user.

“His commentary is satire, it’s astute, it’s bitingly clever. The fact he’s doing a Rachel Dolezal is too brilliant to even understand.”


Juice WRLD, 1998-2019 โ€“ the NME obituary

The Chicago rapper has died from a seizure at the age of 21

The Best Songs Of The Decade: The 2010s

Here โ€“ after much debate โ€“ are the 100 very best songs of 2010s

The Best Albums of The Decade: The 2010s

Here it is: the ultimate guide to the 100 essential albums of the 2010s, picked, ranked and dissected by NME experts