Chris Lilley Posts Deleted Scenes Of Jonah From Tonga Amid Criticism Over Character
Chris Lilley has uploaded deleted scenes from the controversial series Jonah from Tonga amid criticism of the polarising character.
In the never before seen clips, you get to witness a softer side to Jonah Takalua.
He talks about his love of singing songs from The Bangles because his mum and dad met at one of their concerts. The character also expresses how much he misses his mum, Theresa, and how she thought he was very bright and skilled when he was very young.
The second scene shows us Jonah and his mates putting together a song called 'Don't Be A Bully'.
The singing group, called Fobalicious, support one another as they come up with lyrics for the track, which encourages people to be kinder to one another.
The song is obviously a far cry away from the character that we saw in Summer Heights High, who routinely bullied other kids at the school, often resulting in punishment from the principal.
Lilley has faced heavy criticism for his portrayal of a Tongan schoolboy ever since the character debuted in 2007.
The Summer Heights High and Jonah from Tonga series copped a lot of angry comments from people who thought he was not only donning brown face to do the character but that it was also a superficial and harmful stereotype.
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While Lilley hasn't commented on the recent backlash to the character amid the Black Lives Matter movement, you could understand him releasing these two clips to showcase different sides to Jonah.
But a man who says he was the real life inspiration for Jonah Takalua has revealed the intense pain the character has caused him.
Filipe Mahe was featured in the 2004 documentary series Our Boys, which looked at the lives of several students and teachers at 'cash-strapped government school' Canterbury Boys High, in Sydney's inner west.
Filipe has explained how Chris Lilley came into his school after Our Boys was released to get ideas for characters. Mr Mahe was described as a 'charismatic and cheeky Tongan schoolboy having a tough time because of his reading, writing and family difficulties'.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald: "I knew from that episode Jonah was me. I've always thought it was racism to Tongans but never spoke out. I would have been labelled a 'sook' or 'can't handle the banter' so I didn't say anything.
"Young Tongan boys have been stereotyped as dumb, clowns, a nuisance, little s***s, violent and foul-mouthed. I feel like I'm responsible for this stereotype and that hurts the most.
"It hurts that people think I spoke in that manner to the public or to my family. I'm upset that people think I'm dumb or uneducated. I'm upset at how people think of me."
Featured Image Credit: Chris Lilley/YouTube
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