Captain GetUp Deletes 'Gross' Video Dancing Against Zali Steggall Poster
A conservative lobby group has blamed an "error" for a social media video depicting a superhero character gyrating against a poster of a female political candidate.
Advance Australia, billed as the "conservative GetUp", has focused its activities in the 2019 election squarely in the Sydney seat of Warringah, held by Tony Abbott. The group has independent candidate and skiing champion Zali Steggall in its sights, as she looks to oust the 25-year MP from parliament.
The latest strategy from the group is 'Captain GetUp', a parody superhero character they are using in an attempt to draw links between Steggall and the progressive campaigning group.
Captain GetUp has been lambasted on social media for a series of cringeworthy videos, featuring a badly dubbed voice and repeated errors.
But the campaign came under intense scrutiny this weekend, as a video was uploaded to several of the group's social media accounts showing Captain GetUp gyrating and dancing against a large poster of Steggall's face, as well as rubbing her neck area, set to pulsing club music.
The poster showed Steggall on Labor-style branding, next to a photo of Bill Shorten. Steggall is running an independent campaign, while Labor already has its own endorsed candidate, Dean Harris, for the election.
"Advance Australia has removed the video, as it was posted in error," Advance Australia director Gerard Benedet told 10 daily.
"Captain Get Up! wanted to let people know that a vote for Zali Steggall is a vote for Bill Shorten."
10 daily has enquired further as to how the "error" occurred, and whether it was appropriate for the character to dance in that way at all. The entire first 15 seconds of the video feature the character rubbing and dancing against the poster.
Additionally, despite the claim of a mistake, the video on Facebook carried a 'sponsored' tag, meaning it appeared to have been boosted with a payment to ensure it appeared in more people's social media feeds.
The video prompted outrage on social media, with Steggall herself calling on Abbott and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to state whether they accepted the group's support.
Benedet, the group's director, has been a long-time affiliate of the Liberal Party. The Sydney Morning Herald reported he volunteered on Abbott's 2001 election campaign, and has worked for a number of high-profile Coalition politicians.
10 daily has contacted the offices of Abbott and Steggall for comment.
Other political figures also criticised the video, including Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus and former Greens senator Scott Ludlam, who both called it "gross". Former Liberal MP Julia Banks also supported Steggall.
In response to several critical tweets, the Captain GetUp account simply posted links to its website.
The Captain GetUp campaign has been widely ridiculed on social media, including for a series of basic errors.
The character has referred to Greens leader Richard Di Natale as 'Richard Di Natalie', the Labor Party as 'Labour', and repeatedly used different stylings of its character's name -- Getup, GetUp!, and GetUp. It also claimed Shorten was "the ACTU boss", an organisation he never led.