The Block slammed over 'racist' Mexican fiesta: 'Tone deaf'

Channel Nine's reality show The Block is facing backlash over a 'Mexican fiesta' that saw contestants dress in sombreros, serapes and don fake dark facial hair.

Fans have hit out over the controversial moment, with many saying the party was "tone deaf" and cultural appropriation.

In the episode, Sarah-Jane and Tom were already dressed up when they picked up other contestants, and a group of them then chanted 'Olé, Olé, Olé' as they drove to the dinner party.

Contestant Omar said to producers "ponchos and sombreros were on the menu", but the "food was amazing".

Australian TV contestants from The Block dressed in inappropriate Mexican 'costumes'
The Block was slammed for being 'tone deaf'. Source: Channel Nine

Some Block viewers were shocked by the scene, with one posting a clip on TikTok with the caption: "Welcome to tone deaf Australian television in 2022."

Others took to The Block sub-reddit to also slam the themed dinner party.

"So that Mexican segment was pretty racist, right?" one wrote.

"It kept getting worse. Just when you thought it was racist enough the eyebrows pop up on screen," another commented.


One viewer claimed it was "uncomfortable to watch" while somebody else said: "You do not need to dress up and parody a nation when eating Mexican-inspired food."

It comes after columnist Eden Caceda wrote an opinion piece in 2014 for the Sydney Morning Herald after news emerged Sydney University planned a Mexican fiesta-themed party for staff.

"The issue with events like the 'Mexican fiesta' party is that it is not, as many suggest, a 'celebration of culture'," he wrote.

"In reality, it makes light, and perpetuates harmful stereotypes, of traditional culture."

Stills from The Block's Mexican Fiesta party which included many stereotypes and caricaturisations
The Block has been accused of cultural appropriation and racism with their choice of costumes for a Mexican fiesta party on the show. Source: Channel Nine

He went on to say: "Cultural appropriation is as insidious a form of racism as any. It involves taking specific parts of cultural identity and practices and commodifying and trivialising them.

"A Mexican-themed party, regardless of the intentions behind it, does not foster a space for a positive exchange of culture, but reinforces a simplistic and trivial view of it."

Channel Nine did not wish to comment when contacted by Yahoo Lifestyle.

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