A TV presenter has sparked public fury after dressing up as a Wuhan bat seller at a fancy dress party.
Australian columnist Caroline Marcus has divided public opinion over the controversial Halloween costume.
Pictures posted to Instagram showed Caroline and her husband Jake Swarts dressed as Wuhan street hawkers with two babies dressed as bats in their baskets.
Many social media users expressed their outrage at the insensitive post which appears to mock the city where coronavirus originated in China.
The snap, which has now been deleted, was captioned: “I don’t think [the baby] was too happy about being hawked off in our two-for-one, extra good price for you Wuhan special.
“Our baby is totally cool with it though, so any takers?”
Known for her outspoken views, Caroline explained why she chose the costume in another post, Mail Online reports.
It read: “Because what could seriously be more terrifying in 2020 than a couple of Wuhan street vendors hawking one very edible bat?”
Some saw the funny side of the Instagram post and chuckled over Caroline’s creative costumes.
While others branded the costumes “offensive” and referred the Sky News reporter and Daily Telegraph columnist to antiracism resources.
One person said: “This is really disturbing. I hope you’ll take a step back and consider how offensive this might be to a group of people, particular during this time when violence is being perpetrated against people of Asian backgrounds because of views like this.
“As a journalist, I hope you’ll take some time to reflect on why this is not cool.”
Others claimed the move demeaned those affected by the deadly virus, with one criticising the parents for including their children in the online joke.
They said: “Can’t stop thinking about Caroline Marcus and her horrible, racist Halloween costume that she roped her infant kids into.”
The social media post also encouraged a flurry of laughter, with some finding the controversial joke hilarious.
One person said “this is brilliant” while another said “so good” followed by a triple laughing emoji.
Another added: “You win the prize Caroline Marcus. That’s the best.”