ASA condemns Channel 4’s “irresponsible, offensive, prejudicial” and harmful to children ad campaign
Editor | 03-10-2012
For viewers a guilty pleasure and for the broadcaster a ratings smash, however Channel 4’s second series of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings has been slammed for endorsing negative prejudicial views and even “being harmful to children and depicting a child in a sexualised way.”
An adjudication by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority Council (ASA) has condemned thoroughly the advertising campaign that promoted the “Bigger, Fatter, Gypsier” series franchise, broadcast in February 2012, revealing the cultural aspects of the Irish traveller comity in the UK which regularly faces in-built prejudice.
David Enright, a partner with Howe & Co Solicitors, a UK law firm which acted for the Irish Travellers’ Movement in Britain (ITMB) and members of the Irish Traveller community in bringing formal complaints to the ASA about Channel 4’s advertising campaign, commented: “Sadly, racial discrimination against Travellers and Gypsies is seen as the last ‘socially acceptable’ form of racism in modern Britain. Appallingly, Channel 4’s advertising campaign promoted and endorsed negative prejudicial views. This is a stunning, landmark victory for Travellers and Gypsies, who are all too often portrayed negatively in the press and media. The billboard campaign was harmful to children and fell very short of the conduct required of any serious public broadcaster, especially when it depicted a Traveller child in a sexualised way. Senior executives within Channel 4 must consider their positions. The sponsors of the television programme, whose name appeared below these advertisements, should also consider whether it is happy to be associated with such irresponsible and harmful advertising, especially where children may have been harmed”.
Fellow partner Martin Howe called on those “involved in positively promoting such prejudicial views” to consider their suitability to be part of a mainstream public broadcaster.