Summer Heights High creator Chris Lilley comes under fire for 'blackface' character in new show Lunatics

Summer Heights High creator Chris Lilley has sparked outrage with the announcement of his new Netflix show, which features a character some are accusing of wearing blackface.

The trailer for 10 part series Lunatics was released this week, bringing with it a wave of backlash about a character called Jana, a "South African pet psychic to the stars".

Lilley dons an afro-style wig and dark makeup for his portrayal of the character, a move that has offended some social media users.

"Chris Lilley is maybe doing blackface again which is very shitty and also he called his new show Lunatics because mentally ill people are a joke apparently just saying there are many layers of yikes in this shit sandwich," one tweet read.

"And once again Australia's 'Days without a blackface incident' counter resets to zero," said another.

One Twitter user went as far as saying that Netflix's hosting of the "blackface bonanza" showed support for white supremacy.

"By continuing your subscription to Netflix, *YOU* are supporting white supremacy," they added.

Opinion on Lilley's latest persona was divided, however, with some fans coming to his defence.

"Drag me but this isn't blackface - If you watch the trailer he's clearly just got a slight fake tan and just because someone has an Afro and isn't pale as ice, doesn't mean they're black. Chris Lilley and Netflix aren't stupid enough to put blackface on TV," one tweet said.

It's not the first time Lilley has been accused of racial insensitivity. His character Jonah from Tonga was banned from Māori Television in 2017 after the network's board deemed it unacceptable.

National's spokesperson for Pacific Peoples, Alfred Ngaro, said the character "perpetuates negative stereotypes of Pacific people."

"The fact it is pitched as comedy doesn't make that any more acceptable".

At the time of publishing, neither Netflix nor Lilley have publicly addressed the controversy.