The Wiggles Decry Australian City for Using Their Music to Deter Homeless

Earlier this week, the city of Bunbury in Western Australia played “Hot Potato” by the children’s band The Wiggles on loop near a makeshift shelter for homeless people. Though Mayor Jaysen Miguel denied to The Washington Post that the song was being used to deter homeless people from camping there, The Wiggles took notice and expressed disappointment with their music being used in such a manner.

“The Wiggles’ music is created to bring joy and happiness to children and families around the world,” a spokesperson for the Australian group said in a statement, “and we are deeply disappointed to hear that it is being used in any other way.”

Miguel said that the music was turned off on Thursday (November 2nd). “This is a public facility, and this area is a public area. We want to make sure that it’s safe for everybody utilizing that,” Miguel told The Washington Post. “But also, we obviously don’t want to be causing any agony for people who are down there and enjoying that space.”

Leslie Riley, a local man who had been staying at the shelter intermittently, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that “Hot Potato” was “going around and around in my head” for two days.

According to Miguel, the city had constantly been playing music at the Graham Bricknell Music Shell for more than six months “without incident.” Australia’s national anthem played over the speakers at first, though different songs were cycled through. However, someone apparently broke into the control box on Wednesday and “turned the volume of the music right up.”

Homelessness service Accordwest chief executive Evan Nunn decried the decision to play music nonstop. “The options for homeless people are very few, they are moving from place to place in order to find shelter,” Nunn told ABC. “Someone playing music to stop them sleeping at a place where they feel safe doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

John Carey, Western Australia’s minister for housing and homelessness, also criticized the city of Bunbury for the tactic. In a statement, he said that blasting The Wiggles “is not a constructive way to assist the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Per The Washington Post, dozens of homeless people camp out at the stage of the Graham Bricknell Music Shell and a nearby bus stop for shelter. Bunbury officials previously forced them out of the area in October 2021, around the time that Miguel was elected mayor.

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