Hundreds marched on the Sydney Opera House last night to protest ‘tacky’ adverts for a horse race which were projected on to its famous white sails.
One protester aimed five high-powered spotlights to white out the 30-minute display showing the draw for the $13m Everest Horse race which takes place on Saturday in Sydney.
The dispute has intensified in the context a wider debate on Australia’s ‘evil and harmful’ gambling industry, with pro-gambling conservatives in politics and the media backing the light show.
Firebrand broadcaster Alan Jones, who holds sway with several conservative politicians and has commercial interests in racing, was also extremely vocal in support of the show via radio station 2GB.
Opera House CEO Louise Herron agreed to a display of jockeys’ colours but wanted to stop the building showing horses’ numbers, names or the race logo, saying ‘it’s not a billboard’. ‘
More than 2500,000 Australians had signed a petition against the light show – but their voices fell on deaf ears when Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed the display on Sunday.