Australia

Aboriginal actor Jack Charles 'refused taxi twice in three days'

Actor Uncle Jack Charles and his manager Patrice Capogreco, 28 October 2015 Image copyright Patrice Capogreco
Image caption Jack Charles' manager Patrice Capogreco said "enough is enough"

Aboriginal Australian actor "Uncle" Jack Charles says he has been refused taxi rides two times in three days.

Mr Charles' manager, Patrice Capogreco, said the actor may take legal action against the drivers and taxi company.

The first incident occurred on Wednesday night after a Melbourne event where Mr Charles was declared Victorian Senior Australian of the Year.

When Mr Charles tried to get in a taxi the driver allegedly demanded upfront payment because "he might not pay".

The second incident occurred at Melbourne airport at 15:00 local time Friday (04:00 GMT).

Image copyright National Australia Day Council
Image caption Mr Charles, a former inmate and drug addict, told the BBC he found his true identity as an elder statesman

Mr Charles was attempting to get inside a taxi when it suddenly drove away, Ms Capogreco told the BBC.

"He's a strong, resilient man and it takes a lot to affect him, but enough is enough," she said.

The Victorian taxi regulator said it was investigating the case as a matter of priority.

"This type of behaviour is unacceptable and illegal. [We] deplore discrimination and racism of any kind," the Taxi Services Commission said in a statement.

It said taxi fares must be prepaid for all trips between 22:00 and 05:00.

However, Mr Charles had said Wednesday's incident had occurred at around 21:00.

Image copyright Ilbijerri & Belvoir Theatre Companies
Image caption Mr Charles is well known for his work as an actor

In an interview before the second incident, Mr Charles told the BBC it was common for Indigenous Australians to be refused a taxi.

He said some Aboriginal Australians were forced to ask strangers to flag taxis down on their behalf.

"We're so used to it ... being abused by this behaviour," Mr Charles said. "White Australia has to get used to the term racial vilification."

The actor had a cameo role in the Warner Brothers Peter Pan sequel film Pan this year. He is best known for his work on Australian films, including Tom White and The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith.

Mr Charles is also well known as an Aboriginal elder and role model.

Musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was involved in a similar incident in 2012.

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