Blue Wiggle, Anthony Field, has revealed the moment he knew the children’s TV show needed to “change”.
The children’s entertainment group announced it was adding four racially diverse characters to The Wiggles line-up after 30 years as a foursome, prompting criticism from a controversial Coalition senator and hordes of online trolls.
But Field, 28, a founding member of the band, has shut down critics who labelled the move “woke”.
It came while
He says he was working with Grammy-nominated Broadway performer James Harkness who was a guest star on the TV series The Wiggles’ World, and who pointed out the importance of having other people in the character’s iconic colours.
Despite having guests from different cultures sing and dance with Anthony, Simon, Emma and Lachy, none were ever invited to pull on the signature shirts.
“If you really want them to be part of the club, they’ve got to have the blue, yellow, red or purple,” Field told ABC News.
“Now we have Fruit Salad TV: we have four women, four men and we only have those colours because they are the Wiggles colours.”
Joining the group are Tsehay Hawkins, 15, originally from Ethiopia and will wear red; Evie Ferris is a 24-year-old indigenous woman who will wear blue; Kelly Hamilton, 45, is Asian-Australian and will wear yellow; and John Pearce, 28, of pop group Justice Crew, has Filipino heritage and will wear purple.
Field told NCA NewsWire previously he felt “morally, we have to do this”.
“I looked around the world and I thought: ‘We have to reflect our audience’. Our audience is not just one culture, we want children to see a mirror of themselves. I hope people, mums and dads as well, will feel included.”
The new characters will be part of a new YouTube series called Fruit Salad TV, which premieres next month.
But not everyone was impressed by the move – including Matt Canavan, a National senator from Queensland, who told the Australian the new line-up would destroy The Wiggles.
“The Wiggles are free to do what they like. It was nice while it lasted. But you go woke, you go broke,” the outspoken conservative, who regularly rails against progressive social issues as well as climate change and environmentalism, said.
Social media trolls echoed his sentiment, with several responding to the official announcement on Twitter with a range of “go woke, go broke” remarks.
The Wiggles outfit is one of the most successful in Australian entertainment history, raking in an estimated $30 million annually thanks to a loyal global following, lucrative television syndication, concert tours and merchandising.
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