During the final leaders debate last week, news.com.au political editor Samantha Maiden fired off a tweet about Anthony Albanese’s wage promise: “@albo says he backs a 5 per cent increase”.
Maiden made an all-too-common error. Instead of mentioning the Labor leader as intended — who holds the @AlboMP Twitter handle — she had tagged Albo, an Italian erotic cartoonist.
Albo has been a professional erotic artist for the last five years who primarily earns through people subscribing to his Patreon account. His favourite genre is “sexy comedy” and his work includes titles like Blind Date, Sisters’ Affairs and Space Brothel. And unlike some, he’s comfortable working outside of cisgender heteronormative identities and likes to draw gay, crossdressing and trans comics.
In an exclusive, Australian-first interview with Crikey, Albo says that he’s lost track of the times that he’s been accidentally mentioned or tagged by people mistaking him for Anthony Albanese, and that it intensified during the election.
“This has been going on for almost 10 years, although of course the situation has gotten much worse in the last three to four years since Albo has been Labor leader,” he said.
Large Australian media accounts are among those who mistakenly tag him. Unprompted, Albo mentions that conservative social commentator Prue MacSween tags him more than any other user.
“Some have even asked me to caricature her in my own way,” he said. “I have never done this because I don’t know her and don’t want to make fun of her or have a drawing of mine used to offend her and go beyond the limit of a good-natured joke.”
Albo professes to not understand much about what’s happening in Australian politics. He knows who Albanese is, who’s currently prime minister, and that there’s an election this weekend.
The artist has mixed feelings about the election. Despite his lack of familiarity, Albo says he’s rooting for a Labor win because the party’s policies align with his own personal politics. But, he admits, that this would also lead to more confusion online.
“I know full well what this would mean for me in terms of mentions, tags, replies and whatnot, however, maybe I can gain a few hundred more followers!”
Albo has a final message for Anthony Albanese to keep in mind in the days leading up to the election.
“If he needs an erotic cartoonist, I am at his disposal.”