UPDATE: The ABC has since apologised for the footage it aired in regards to this story. It admitted the Governor-General was not in attendance while the performance was going on. Read the latest here.
Have you ever attended a military event and thought the only thing missing was a group of women twerking in booty shorts?
Well, apparently the Australian Defence Force did.
A recent military event has been dubbed a “s–tshow” by a senior MP, after the Royal Australian Navy invited a SydneY dance crew to (presumably) add some pizzazz.
Much to the delight of Twitter users, senior military personnel and government officials who came to witness the commissioning of a new Australian naval vessel got to witness a whole lot more.
The commissioning of HMAS Supply, which will assist the Navy’s operational support, was largely overshadowed by a dance troupe hired to twerk and gyrate in front of senior officials.
"We've got the CDF, we've got members of Parliament there, and the Governor-General's there, I don't think it's appropriate to be twerking. I think our standards in the ADF, and definitely commissioning a ship, should be a little bit higher than that". https://t.co/Nn1DwwdbeH pic.twitter.com/id6YAND9E7
— Andrew Greene (@AndrewBGreene) April 13, 2021
Users were quick to suggest the scenes felt like something straight out of a satirical Sacha Baron Cohen skit.
I feel for these dancers. Every performer has a “why did they book me, why am I here?” story. But this whole thing looks like a scene from Borat film.
The Navy should apologise to the troupe (then hire some drag queens next time to read a book to the GG).
— Nic Holas (@nicheholas) April 13, 2021
101 Doll Squadron, which predominantly features women of colour, performed at the event in red berets, cropped tops and booty shorts – much to the “surprise” of some of the high-flying guests.
One MP who wished to remain anonymous told the ABC “the dancers are beside the point – we’re meant to be a fighting force”.
“Many MPs have expressed surprise at this ceremony to government,” the minister said.
These two consecutive shots might be the funniest thing the ABC has ever broadcast pic.twitter.com/a0jARP1kuQ
— CAMERONWILSON POSTING HIS Ws (@cameronwilson) April 14, 2021
Liberal MP Phillip Thompson, who is a former soldier, said the ADF needed to raise the bar.
“Standards in the ADF, and definitely when commissioning a ship, should be a little bit higher than that,” Mr Thompson said.
“We’ve got the [chief of defence force], we’ve got members of Parliament there, and the Governor-General’s there. I don’t think it’s appropriate to be twerking.”
Unfortunately, the dancers behind 101 Doll Squadron, which has a history of performing at community events, have been unfairly targeted in the backlash.
The troupe has been forced to delete its Facebook page and make its Instagram private after a wave of criticism of its performance.
Some users questioned why the ADF would hire performers, whose social media pages clearly illustrated their style of dancing, to twerk at a military event amid a “political climate dominated by misogyny”.
Others sympathised with the dancers, many of who have had to deactivate their accounts.
I’m feeling sorry for those young dancers. The ADF made an inappropriate choice when they okayed the routine but those young women were just doing what they were hired to do.
— Heidi Ducklington (@LadyOfCygnets) April 14, 2021
There is a fair bit of righteous hypocrisy in the Government and ADF complaining about inappropriate twerking (agreed) considering the sexual harassment that occurs in both organisations.
— MandyMoo 😎 (@Moo5Sa) April 13, 2021
The performance came as Mr Thompson called the ADF “too woke”, and argued it had lurched “too far to the left”.
“Having Minister Dutton at the helm and leading our Australian Defence Force, we’re bringing back our core values,” Mr Thompson said.
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The core values Mr Thompson is referring to might be the “application of lethal violence”, which is what Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie said would always be the ADF’s “core business”.
101 Doll Squadron did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The New Daily.