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A Jackson 5 parody on Australian television has set off a firestorm of controversy.
American actor Harry Connick Jr. served as a guest judge on the variety show Hey Hey It’s Saturday on Wednesday. When the group Jackson Jive performed "Can You Feel It" in blackface, the New Orleans native was visibly upset.
The group featured four men in wigs and black face paint and a Michael Jackson impersonator wearing white face paint.
"I just want to say, on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but we've spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that we take it really to heart," said Connick.
After Connick gave the group a zero for their performance, Sommers apologized.
"I know that to your countrymen, that's an insult to have a blackface routine like that on the show, so I do apologize to you," said Sommers.
Channel 9 in Australia also issued a brief apology in a statement, saying "It was never intended to offend and we regret any offense [the act] caused."
Critics have dug up a skit from Mad TV in 1996 that features Connick impersonating a Southern minister and has been called a hypocrite.
Connick is guilty of a bad wig and horrible Southern accent in the skit, but is he guilty of racism?
More than 80 percent of people polled on the PerthNow Web site felt the skit wasn't racist, magnifying the cultural differences between the United States and Australia.
Do you think the performance by the Jackson Jive was racist? Are Connick’s comments hypocritical? Chime in below!