AUSTRALIAN POLICE HAVE charged a woman for racially abusing passengers on a train after a video recording her tirade was posted online and went viral, sparking a social media backlash.
The 55-year-old, named by Australian media as Karen Bailey, was arrested late last night after allegedly launching an expletive-filled rant at young children and an Asian woman during a Sydney train journey.
New South Wales police said she was charged with offensive language and will appear in court later this month.
Bailey started to scream at two children aged seven and 10 after she boarded the train, telling their mother to “getting your fucking bogan children off the seat”, the mother, Jade Marr, told the Newcastle Herald.
“It was unbelievable to think somebody would say those things and act like that,” Marr said.
The Australian slang term “bogan” roughly translates as “trashy”.
Bailey then turned her attention to other passengers as they filmed her outburst, telling a man beside an Asian woman that “he can’t even get a regular girlfriend, he’s got to get a gook”.
The term gook is a disparaging term to describe Asians. Bailey also mocked the Asian woman’s accent and pulled back her eyes to ridicule her features.
The video, which was posted on YouTube by a passenger on Wednesday, had been viewed more than 250,000 times by Friday morning and attracted almost 1,000 comments.
Most of the comments criticised Bailey for her outburst, although several were supportive of her remarks.
Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said on Twitter that “there is no excuse for acts of racial insult, humiliation and intimidation”.
“When confronted with such conduct, everyone should consider a response, including reporting it to a relevant authority,” he wrote.
Bailey told media group Ninemsn she was having a “really, really rotten day” and “it’s awful what I said to that woman, I do agree”.
“There’s no excuse to rant at people like that,” she said. “It’s awful and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, regardless of any race.”
Bailey initially gave her name as Sue Wilkins to passengers and some media outlets once the video of her rant went viral.