Zoo Magazine apologises after launching search for "Australia's Sexiest Asylum Seeker"
No strangers to controversy, Zoo Magazine's Australian edition has overstepped the mark and been forced to apologise Down Under after a search for the country's "Hottest Asylum Seeker".
"Are you a refugee not even the immigration minister could refuse?" asked the magazine. "Then we want to see you! … If you've swapped persecution for sexiness, we want to shoot you (with a camera – relax!). Send your pics and a short story about your tragic past."
The call-out was accompanied by a two page spread of what the magazine dubbed the "sexiest boat people," alongside the sub-heading: "If the government can't stop the boats, make sure these girls are on them."
As you can imagine, Zoo's call-out did not go unnoticed, and particularly caused umbrage after a petition on Change.org received over 5,000 signatures this weekend.
"It makes a mockery of the situations refugees face and circumstances they have fled," said the organiser of the petition, Matt Darvas.
Zoo Magazine Australia's editor, Tim Keen, has confirmed in an email that the publication will now apologise to Mr Darvas for any offence caused.
"We will explain that the reason for the apology is that we regret any offence caused to any of our readers, and to any asylum seeker or refugee who was offended, along with their families and supporters," wrote Mr Keen, though Mr Darvas isn't convinced anything will change.
"The issue is, they have issued an apology and a retraction, but it's only a matter of time until they do this again," he said, "...making fun of a vulnerable group of people to sell magazines."
Did Zoo go too far in your view or did Mr Darvas overreact to their attempt at humour? You can let us know where you stand in the comments section below.