By Ranee Orklin
Two “GAYTMs” that were vandalised Oxford Street at the weekend will not be replaced, as they were being decommissioned anyway, the ANZ bank says.
The bank’s machines had been covered in rainbow panels to celebrate Mardi Gras, and Sunday night’s act of vandalism has been labelled by some locals as a homophobic attack.
NSW police confirmed they were called to the scene around 8pm on Sunday after reports that two men had damaged the ATMs with a metal bar.
Inspector Cheryl Wharton said although there was no damage made to the ATMs, the police will continue to investigate but she “very much doubted” that it was a targeted attack.
But NSW Police corporate spokesperson for LGBTI people, Superintendent Tony Crandell, said an investigation was currently underway into the motive behind “what may be a biased-related, albeit senseless attack”.
In total, ten of the bank’s ATMs had been glammed up for Mardi Gras. ANZ this year became the inaugural principal partner of the festival.
This act of vandalism has sparked heated discussions on social media platforms as people voiced their disgust and disappointment.
Drag diva Maxi Shield was walking along the Oxford Strip to the Midnight Shift when she came across the destroyed ATM facades.
“It’s disappointing to see people out of their comfort zone react to Oxford Street like this…I’d like to see the over the top gay presence back the way it used to be,” she said.
Ms Shield believes it would have been a great step forward for ANZ to keep the GAYTMs on Oxford Street to symbolise LGBTI support from a corporate business. But the remaining eight GAYTM facades were decommissioned on Monday night as originally planned.
“We were disappointed two of our GAYTM’s were vandalised over the weekend, particularly considering the positive feedback the campaign received as a way to celebrate inclusion and diversity during the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival,” an ANZ spokesperson said.