PayPal in Trouble for Mixing Up Vikings with Australia

We mentioned PayPal before. More trouble this time, as the family of the Aboriginal inventor and writer, David Unaipon, pictured on an Australian $50 note, have called on PayPal to pull down its “degrading” and “disrespectful” ads that use a doctored picture of the man. 

It seems that PayPal launched an campaign in Australia, using ads that have images of the $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes with motorcycle police helmets added on the characters depicted to suggest PayPal has heightened security for its users.

Australian 50 dollar note with and without Unaipon image

The Sydney Morning Herald tells us:

Well-known Aboriginal activist Allan Campbell and his brother John, great-nephews of David Unaipon, who is pictured on the $50 note, were shocked to learn their uncle’s image had been used in that way.


“It is very disrespectful because for a start no Aboriginal people have a helmet – we’re not bikies and we’re not Vikings,” said Allan, 61, from Murray Bridge in South Australia.

In defense, PayPal say it’s perfectly legal. But I agree with TechCrunch – that’s missing the point.

Just because it’s legal in a country doesn’t mean it won’t be be culturally offensive. Or right.

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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