News Coronavirus ‘Pretty confronting’: Magda Szubanski cops online backlash for virus advertisement
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‘Pretty confronting’: Magda Szubanski cops online backlash for virus advertisement

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Comedian Magda Szubanski is getting slammed by COVID-19 deniers after starring in an ad aimed at quelling Victoria’s deadly outbreak.The 59-year-old Melburnian revives as her favourite Kath & Kim character Sharon Strzelecki in one of a series of ads urging Victorians to follow coronavirus health orders.

“It’s not the lockdown that is the enemy,” Strzelecki tells the camera in the light-hearted ad.

“It’s the virus, and the sooner we obey the rules, the sooner we can get back to what matters.”

Other personalities enrolled for the public health campaign include Shane Jacobson, Tayla Harris, Waleed Aly and Nazeem Hussain.

Szubanksi’s ad was the first to hit social media when the campaign was launched by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews last Saturday. The pile-on from “trolls” and “flat-out COVID deniers” was swift.

On Sunday, Szubanski also revealed that coronavirus conspiracy theorists had visited her home address, leaving a bizarre postcard warning of “mask scams” in her letterbox.

“I’ve been called everything from a puppet of the communist party to a Nazi responsible for the murders of the people,” she said.

“Being accused of being a supporter of lockdown and thereby causing murders is pretty confronting.”

Launching the campaign on Saturday, Mr Andrews said the humour was designed to help keep Victorians motivated during Melbourne’s six-week shutdown.

“Even though this is a challenging time, some humour is a very good thing to just try and remind people that we all have a part to play,” he said.

On Saturday, Mr Andrews urged Victorians not to waver in their lockdown efforts, saying the state was not even halfway through an “ultramarathon”.

Victoria had 116 new coronavirus cases on Monday, its lowest tally since early July. But its death toll from the pandemic rose to 430 with confirmation of 15 more fatalities.

It’s not Szubanski’s first contribution to the public fight against the pandemic. Back in April, she went viral with a shout-out to Australia’s health workers – set to the tune of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love.

And, despite the most recent backlash, Szubanski is still backing the new ads.

“I totally believe in this message,” she said.

“As Sharon says, ‘I’m over this lockdown’. I haven’t seen my family – my sister’s in Queensland, she had some health issues, I wanted to visit her; my brother is in rural Victoria.

“If people don’t follow the rules, we’re not going to beat this thing. And the thing is, we – the people – can. We’ve got the power. We can either let the virus control us or we can control the virus by doing a few simple things. ”

The Melbourne shutdown will last at least until September 13.