Jesinta Franklin breaks her silence after backlash over her comments on rescue of Cleo Smith


Jesinta Franklin has broken her silence, after she suffered backlash over her comments that the Cleo Smith case wouldn’t have generated the same amount of attention if she were Indigenous.

In a series of Instagram Stories shared on Sunday, the model, 30, wrote: ‘Thank you to everyone who engaged in meaningful conversations in regards to my post about the lack of equality in the visibility of cases of missing children.

‘Confronting and often forgotten topics like this are important to continue to talk about. I received an outpouring of messages about the lack of action and media attention for not only missing Indigenous children but all children of colour. 

Speaking: Jesinta Franklin (pictured) has broken her silence, after she suffered backlash over her comments that the Cleo Smith case wouldn't have generated the same amount of attention if she were Indigenous

Speaking: Jesinta Franklin (pictured) has broken her silence, after she suffered backlash over her comments that the Cleo Smith case wouldn’t have generated the same amount of attention if she were Indigenous

‘I hope that all missing children, regardless of ethnicity, have an equal presence in the media and that articles to come, give voice to this disparity and injustice.

This doesn’t take away from anyone else’s story or pain, just highlights how important it really is’. 

She went on in further Stories:  ‘I have posted about this in the past but unfortunately not many people paid much attention. Tonight I will be reposting again so we can continue to educate ourselves, myself included.

In a series of Instagram Stories shared on Sunday, the model, 30, wrote: 'Thank you to everyone who engaged in meaningful conversations in regards to my post about the lack of equality in the visibility of cases of missing children'

In a series of Instagram Stories shared on Sunday, the model, 30, wrote: ‘Thank you to everyone who engaged in meaningful conversations in regards to my post about the lack of equality in the visibility of cases of missing children’

Jesinta concluded: 'This is not the first and won't be the last time I speak up and shine a light on issues of equality and injustice'

Jesinta concluded: ‘This is not the first and won’t be the last time I speak up and shine a light on issues of equality and injustice’

‘I have had an influx of people reach out to me saying they had no idea about the statistics or that this issue even existed.’

Jesinta concluded: ‘This is not the first and won’t be the last time I speak up and shine a light on issues of equality and injustice’. 

The football WAG then shared a recommendation for her fans to listen to the Bowraville podcast.

It covers the unsolved murder of three children in Bowraville, a small town in the Mid North Coast hinterland of New South Wales, who were all killed within five months of each other. 

Highlighting: The football WAG then shared a recommendation for her fans to listen to the Bowraville podcast. It covers the unsolved murder of three children in Bowraville, a small town in the Mid North Coast hinterland of New South Wales, who were all killed within five months of each other

Highlighting: The football WAG then shared a recommendation for her fans to listen to the Bowraville podcast. It covers the unsolved murder of three children in Bowraville, a small town in the Mid North Coast hinterland of New South Wales, who were all killed within five months of each other

Important case: She also highlighted the case of 10-month-old Indigenous baby Charlie Boy Mullaley who was tortured and killed in Western Australia in 2013, after being kidnapped by his mother's ex partner. The response of the police in that case has been heavily criticised

Important case: She also highlighted the case of 10-month-old Indigenous baby Charlie Boy Mullaley who was tortured and killed in Western Australia in 2013, after being kidnapped by his mother’s ex partner. The response of the police in that case has been heavily criticised

She also highlighted the case of 10-month-old Indigenous baby Charlie Boy Mullaley who was tortured and killed in Western Australia in 2013, after being kidnapped by his mother’s ex partner.  

The response of the police in that case has been heavily criticised. 

‘The way this case ended is unfathomable. I have linked the family’s petition to the WA Attorney General and Premier here. It includes the case file so you can read up on what took place,’ Jesinta said, alongside a Justice.Org petition.  

Support too: Jesinta suffered backlash after she said the Cleo Smith case wouldn't have generated the same amount of attention if she were Indigenous. While she garnered negative attention, Jesinta also saw support following her comments

Support too: Jesinta suffered backlash after she said the Cleo Smith case wouldn’t have generated the same amount of attention if she were Indigenous. While she garnered negative attention, Jesinta also saw support following her comments

Jesinta suffered backlash after she said the Cleo Smith case wouldn’t have generated the same amount of attention if she were Indigenous. 

While she garnered negative attention, Jesinta also saw support following her comments.  

Supporters flooded the model’s Instagram account with praise after she deleted her original post following backlash.

Support: Supporters flooded the model's Instagram page with praise after she deleted the controversial post amid backlash. Pictured with her daughter Tullulah

Support: Supporters flooded the model’s Instagram page with praise after she deleted the controversial post amid backlash. Pictured with her daughter Tullulah

‘Thank you for speaking up for Indigenous children. Sorry you were pressured into deleting the post, you said nothing wrong,’ one fan commented.

‘I support what you said! Indigenous children and children of colour are so overlooked,’ added another. 

‘Of course Cleo deserves the effort that went into the search but ALL children deserve that! Western culture has a horrible history of sensationalising white missing children.’ 

A third said her post was ‘100 per cent correct’, while several others said she was ‘spot on’ with her assessment.

'Thank you for speaking up for Indigenous children. Sorry you were pressured into deleting the post, you said nothing wrong,' one fan commented. Pictured: Cleo Smith

‘Thank you for speaking up for Indigenous children. Sorry you were pressured into deleting the post, you said nothing wrong,’ one fan commented. Pictured: Cleo Smith

‘I’m really sorry you deleted your comment about Cleo. Yes, your timing was off but you were absolutely spot on,’ commented one fan.

‘We need to highlight this as an example of injustices within Indigenous communities.’  

However, she also experienced backlash, with many criticising the timing of her post. 

Timing: However, she also experienced backlash, with many criticising the timing of her post

Timing: However, she also experienced backlash, with many criticising the timing of her post 

‘Wrong time to bring this up,’ wrote one critic, while a second slammed her post as ‘utterly insensitive’.

‘I’d agree with her if she made concerted efforts to bring this to light consistently prior to this incident, piggy backing is just making it about her!’ wrote another.

One accused Jesinta of ‘turn[ing] the good-news story of the year into [an] issue of race’.

'Wrong time to bring this up,' wrote one critic, while a second slammed her post as 'utterly insensitive'

‘Wrong time to bring this up,’ wrote one critic, while a second slammed her post as ‘utterly insensitive’ 

In a since-deleted post on Instagram Stories on Wednesday, Jesinta spoke about the disappearance and subsequent discovery of Cleo, four, insisting the case wouldn’t have received the same coverage if she’d been an Aboriginal child.

The former Miss Universe Australia, who is married to Indigenous AFL superstar Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin, pointed out the ‘disparity’ between missing white children and Indigenous children. 

‘Without taking away from the joy of finding a missing child alive and well, I can’t help but think about the disparity that exists in this country between missing children who are White and Indigenous children when it comes to the visibility and coverage of the case,’ she wrote. 

Weighing in: In a since-deleted post on Instagram Stories on Wednesday, Jesinta spoke about the disappearance and subsequent discovery of Cleo, four, insisting the case wouldn't have received the same coverage if she'd been an Indigenous child

Weighing in: In a since-deleted post on Instagram Stories on Wednesday, Jesinta spoke about the disappearance and subsequent discovery of Cleo, four, insisting the case wouldn’t have received the same coverage if she’d been an Indigenous child

‘I have read so many heartbreaking stories of missing Indigenous children that garner hardly any media coverage or the social media coverage that a case like Cleo’s did.

‘I have no doubt the widespread broadcasting of information in regards to the case assisted the phenomenal efforts of the WA police force in locating this beautiful little girl and reuniting her with her family.’ 

She added: ‘Posting this because I think we need to do better for all children who go missing and their families.’

At a disadvantage: The former Miss Universe Australia, who is married to Indigenous AFL star Buddy Franklin, noted the 'disparity' between missing white children and Indigenous children

At a disadvantage: The former Miss Universe Australia, who is married to Indigenous AFL star Buddy Franklin, noted the ‘disparity’ between missing white children and Indigenous children

'I have read so many heartbreaking stories of missing Indigenous children that garner hardly any media coverage or the social media coverage that a case like Cleo's did,' wrote Jesinta

‘I have read so many heartbreaking stories of missing Indigenous children that garner hardly any media coverage or the social media coverage that a case like Cleo’s did,’ wrote Jesinta

Jesinta is mother to daughter Tullulah, 20 months, and son Rocky, seven months, whom she shares with her husband of five years, Buddy, 34. 

Indigenous people account for 17.5 per cent of all unsolved missing persons cases in Western Australia, despite making up just three per cent of the local population. 

In August 2019, the families of 15 missing Aboriginal children united for a state-wide rally in NSW to raise awareness for Indigenous cases. 

Family: Jesinta is mother to daughter Tullulah, 20 months, and son Rocky, seven months, whom she shares with her husband of five years, Indigenous AFL star Lance 'Buddy' Franklin

Family: Jesinta is mother to daughter Tullulah, 20 months, and son Rocky, seven months, whom she shares with her husband of five years, Indigenous AFL star Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin

Cleo disappeared on October 16 and was found alive at 12.46am on Wednesday when police stormed a public housing home after a sudden tip off with a ‘needle in haystack’ clue.

Police feared the missing girl could have been spirited away anywhere in the country – but instead she was under their noses all along in a rundown house just 3km from her home and 75km from the campsite.

‘What’s your name?’ officers asked as they scooped her up into their arms. ‘My name is Cleo,’ she replied.

Found: Cleo disappeared on October 16 and was found alive at 12.46am on Wednesday when police stormed a public housing home after a sudden tip off with a 'needle in haystack' clue

Found: Cleo disappeared on October 16 and was found alive at 12.46am on Wednesday when police stormed a public housing home after a sudden tip off with a ‘needle in haystack’ clue

That rundown house on Tonkin Crescent in Brockman, in the northern suburbs of Carnarvon in northwest Western Australia, is just kilometres from where she lived in South Carnarvon.

Cleo was likely already locked up in the house when her mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon awoke at 6am to find she was no longer lying next to them and her baby sister Isla in their tent at Blowholes camping grounds.

Terence Darrell Kelly has been charged with a range of offences including forcibly taking a child under 16.

'Posting this because I think we need to do better for all children who go missing and their families,' concluded Jesinta

‘Posting this because I think we need to do better for all children who go missing and their families,’ concluded Jesinta

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