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On August 23rd, the Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart uploaded a video to YouTube urging Australian government to lower minimum wage restrictions, citing African laborers who are willing to work for $2 a day.
“Africans want to work and its workers are willing to work for less than $2 a day. Such statistics make me worry for this country’s future.”
On August 30th, 2012, Rinehart wrote about Australian socialist policies in her regular column for the Australian Resources and Investment magazine. While defending government deregulation of corporations and lowering taxes for the wealthy, Reinhart made the following statements regarding those who fell below the poverty line:
“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.”
Georgina Hope Rinehart is the heiress of the Hancock Prospecting Australian mineral exploration and extraction company that owns land leases in large regions of holding iron ore deposits in Western Australia. Rinehart became the Executive Chairman of Hancock Prospecting following the death of her father in March of 1992. On March 17th, 2011, the International Business Times reported that Rinehart was the wealthiest person in Australia. On May 23rd, 2012, The Australian reported that Rinehart’s net worth totalled A$29.17 billion. On July 6th, 2012, The International Business Times reported that Rinehart has become the richest woman in the entire world.
On August 30th, the statements made in Rinehart’s controversial column were quoted by various news websites including Courier Mail, The TelegraphABC News, The Huffington Post and the women’s interest blog Jezebel. Much of the coverage reported on the negative public reaction to the column and the Australian Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan calling the editorial “an insult.” On September 5th, the growing outrage about Rinehart’s statements regarding minimum wage reduction were reported by The Daily Mail, New York Daily News, National Public Radio and the LA Times.
On August 31st, 2012, Redditor mrana submitted a post to the /r/AdviceAnimals titled “Presenting Spiteful Billionaire”, which included an image macro featuring a photograph of Rinehart with the caption “Poor people don’t work hard enough / Inherited billions.” Within seven days, the post received over 8,200 up votes and 490 comments.
On September 6th, Redditor SneakyPete27 submitted a post titled “Befuddled Billionaire”, which featured another photograph of Rinehart with the caption “Why don’t poor people / just inherit more coal” (shown below, left). Within 24 hours, the post received over 19,100 up votes and 1000 comments. The caption may have been inspired by the Mitt Romney image macro “Why don’t poor people / just buy more money?” (shown below, right).
The same day, the Internet culture news blog The Daily Dot published an article titled “Befuddled Billionaire: Gina Rinehart’s unflattering meme”, which cited a “Scumbag Gina Rinehart” Quickmeme page and a “Dumb Whore Gina Rinehart” Meme Generator page.
International Business Times – Gina Rinehart – The Richest Person You’ve Never Heard Of
The Daily Dot – Befuddled Billionaire – Gine Rinehart’s unflattering meme
The Daily Mail – World’s richest woman calls for Australians to take a pay cut