In June 2018, Canadian father Shawn McCormick flew to Australia to visit his son Keiran, who had moved down under to study at a university on the Gold Coast.
A few days into the trip, Shawn and Keiran were at a Chinese takeaway shop getting dinner when they were stumped by a question from another customer.
“While waiting for our food we heard a voice from behind saying ‘you ain’t be ScoMo, would ya?'” Keiran told BuzzFeed News. “Him and I both had no idea what [the man had] said or meant.”
Only then did they find out that that Shawn looked “scarily like” Australia’s then-treasurer Scott Morrison, who is nicknamed ScoMo and became prime minister in August 2018. Being Canadian, neither of them knew much about Morrison.
Earlier this year, Keiran finished his degree at Griffith University and his father was set to fly down for his graduation in mid-December. But this time around, Keiran was worried about how his Morrison-doppelgänger dad would be treated once he arrived.
“Knowing [Morrison’s], well, recent decline in popularity among a considerable population, my sister and I decided it was best to make him a funny T-shirt to keep him safe,” Keiran said.
So he spent five minutes using Microsoft Word to design an image that would clear up any confusion about his father’s identity.
He found a photo of Morrison with flames in the background and overlaid a banned symbol. On the top of the image, he placed text reading “I AM NOT SCOTT MORRISON”. Then he sent the image to his sister Krista to get it printed on a t-shirt.
Before the siblings could give their father the shirt, Shawn was mistaken for Morrison twice, Keiran said. On Bribie Island, a small island off Australia’s east coast, a waitress even brought out the chef to see Shawn.
“He was the best reaction as the second he saw my dad he just shook his head and said ‘oh no no’ and walked back into the kitchen,” Keiran said. “I think there was a more expletive expression used but for the purposes of your article, we can leave that out.”
Shawn loved the shirt. And – once Keiran and Krista convinced him to wear it out – so did the public.
“Most of the people who saw it absolutely loved it,” Keiran said in a message. “We had him get photos with some police officers and a couple people around before letting him go home with it.”
Keiran posted a picture of his dad in the shirt to the subreddit /r/Australia, where users agreed on the similarity.
One redditor wrote that Morrison – who has faced criticism recently for his decision to go on a holiday to Hawaii while Australia battles deadly bushfires — would “probably like one of those shirts at the moment as well”.
“If you really wanna confuse the public, just get him a Hawaiian shirt” another user wrote.
Keiran said Shawn doesn’t know much about Morrison’s political career, but from what he has heard, isn’t a huge fan.
“People do love the shirt quite a bit though,” he said.
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