A press ad by Paddy Power bookmakers, seen in the 23 August 2017 edition of the Evening Standard and
the 24 August 2017 edition of the Metro, featured the headline claim ALWAYS BET ON BLACK alongside an image of Floyd Mayweather. Further text stated WE'VE PAID OUT EARLY ON A MAYWEATHER VICTORY BECAUSE WE CHECKED, AND ONLY ONE OF THEM IS A BOXER.
Nine complainants, who considered that the headline contained an obvious reference to Floyd Mayweather's race, challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Power Leisure Bookmakers Ltd t/a Paddy Power said the ad was not intended to cause offence on the grounds of race. They said the headline was a gambling related pun as the fight was taking place in Las Vegas and betting on black was a roulette
reference. They acknowledged that the headline referred to Floyd Mayweather's race, but said it was not used in a derogatory, distasteful or offensive manner and the overall tone of the ad was light-hearted and humorous. They said the early pay
out was not based on Floyd Mayweather's race but on his experience as a professional boxer compared with Conor McGregor who had never boxed professionally.
Paddy Power said the campaign was approved by Floyd Mayweather who found the line funny, rather than offensive or derogatory. The phrase always bet on black was embroidered on the underwear Floyd Mayweather's wore at the official weigh-in for the
match in Las Vegas. Floyd Mayweather also posted an image of himself wearing the underwear on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #alwaysbetonblack, which was not part of the sponsorship deal.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
The CAP Code required marketers to ensure that ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and for particular care to be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race. The ad appeared in the sports
section of two free untargeted newspapers, and was therefore likely to have been seen by a wide-range of people. It featured the prominent headline Always Bet on Black, alongside an image of the boxer Floyd Mayweather, who was a black male. We
considered that readers would interpret the headline to be a pun on Floyd Mayweather's race and betting on roulette. We understood that the headline was also intended to be a reference to a 1992 film quote. There was, however, nothing further in
the ad which indicated that the headline was a film quote, and we considered that many readers would be unfamiliar with the quote.
We acknowledged that the headline claim did not make a negative statement about Floyd Mayweather's race and had endorsed him to win the match. We also acknowledged that Floyd Mayweather had authorised the claim. However, we considered that readers
would nevertheless be offended by the invitation to always bet on the outcome of a boxing match based on a boxer's race, and the message that the boxing match was a fight between two different races. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was
likely to cause serious offence on the grounds of race.
We told Paddy Power to ensure they avoided causing serious offence on the grounds of race.
A Super White Army banner was covered up during an England football match.
The sign at Tranmere Rovers' ground was obscured by the FA for the Lionesses' World Cup qualifier, after a player shared the photo online. People responding to the post suggested the banner could be seen as racist.
Tranmere Rovers Supporters' Club said it was not remotely racist and referred to their team's shirts. Supporters' club chairman Mark Bartley said:
The banner had been on display at the ground since the summer, but the words had been our motto for years and the decision to cover it was a one-off [which] will have no impact on us.
We are proud of our club colours, as are all fans up and down the country... and will continue to use the chant at our games going forward, he said. It is not remotely racist - it is simply a reference to the white shirts that our team wear.
Susan Calman has sparked outrage by daring to do what all female competitors
have done on all 14 previous series of Strictly Come Dancing -- dance with a man. The problem, or outrage, such as it is, is that Calman is openly gay.
When she was paired with Kevin Clifton, one of the show's most popular professionals who has come second in the competition four times in a row.
That was enough for Calman to be branded a traitor to the gay cause. Never mind that she gave a shout-out to her wife in her first interview, never mind that she has spent her whole career campaigning for LGBT rights.
Calman was forced to defend her decision to have a male partner. I've worked tirelessly for LGBT equality my whole life and right now I would like to dance and bring entertainment to people by dancing on a Saturday night. Dancing's not necessarily
about sex, it's acting.
Meanwhile 28 people have campaigned to Ofcom about a gag on The Great British Bake Off where a time check was called by a presenter from inside a fridge and then having the door closed on him.
Viewers took to social media to blast the show's producers for being irresponsible and setting a bad example to children. Shocking. So dangerous. How could this get onto a family programme. Wouldn't happen on the beeb, said one.
US catholics have become an early victim of newly introduced censorship measure from YouTube presumably because their teaching is considered offensive due to politically incorrect attitudes towards gays and abortion. Catholic Online writes:
More media organizations are criticizing YouTube's increasingly oppressive soft censorship policies which are now eliminating mainstream news reports from the video sharing network. Many content creators on YouTube are losing millions in revenue
as the Google-owned firm reduces and cuts off payments in pursuit of profits and control.
YouTube is censoring content though various indirect means even if that content does not violate any terms of service. The Google-owned firm is removing content that it deems inappropriate or offensive, and is taking cues from the Southern Poverty
Law Center. The result seems to be a broad labeling of content, and the suppression of even mainstream news. Many of Catholic Online's bible readings have been caught up in YouTube's web of suppression, despite containing no commentary or message
other than the reading of the scriptures.
YouTube is not a government agency but a private platform, so it is free to ban or restrict content as it pleases them. Therefore, their policies, no matter how arbitrary, are not true censorship. However, the firm is practicing what some call
Soft censorship is any kind of activity that suppresses speech, particularly that which is true and accurate. It takes many forms. For example, broadcasting celebrity gossip in place of news is a form of soft censorship. Placing real news lower in
search results, preventing content from being shared on social media, or depriving media outlets of ad revenue for reporting on certain topics, are all common forms of soft censorship.
For some unknown reason, Catholic Online has also been targeted by these policies. Saints videos and daily readings are the most common targets. None of this content can be considered objectionable by any means, and none of it infringes on
YouTube's terms and conditions. It is suspected that anti-Christian bigotry, such as that promoted by liberal extremist organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, are to blame.
The problem for content creators and media organizations is that there are few places for them to go. Most video viewing takes place on YouTube, and there are no video hosting sites as well known and widely used as YouTube. Other sites also
restrict content and some don't share revenues with content creators. This makes YouTube a monopoly; they are literally the only show in town.
The time has come for governments around the world to recognize that Facebook, Google, and YouTube control the public forum. If freedom of speech is to be protected, then these firms must be compelled to abide by free speech rules.
A few angry parents have launched an attack against Aldi supermarkets in Australia for stocking a book about transgender children.
Led by mother Kathryn Woolley, the parents have commented on social media accounts of the retailer to chastise its decision to sell the short novel, The Boy in a Dress . Woolley wrote on Aldi's Facebook page:
Aldi 203 we are so very disappointed in your decision to stock a book within your store 203 relating to transgenderism in children!
We would ask that you reconsider your choice to sell it!
Family & children must be protected in times where there are those whose agenda is to groom & sexualise them!
We ask you to have a conscience in this matter!
The book is the debut novel of British comedian David Walliams and aims to promote diversity and challenge gender roles by telling the story of a twelve-year-old who likes to wear dresses and the reaction of his family and friends.
The Orpheum Theater in Memphis has cancelled its traditional annual screening of Gone With the Wind , apparently in response to the anti-all-things-Confederate sentiment that's seizing the US.
It's the story of Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, and her evolution from sheltered plantation owner's daughter to impoverished war casualty to scrappy Reconstruction-era survivor and hard-headed businesswoman. It's also a love triangle between
Scarlett, Rhett Butler and Ashley Wilkes. It's set against the backdrop of the Civil War but it's not supposed to be about the war, or slavery.
No, it is not a realistic depiction of the institution of slavery. Yes, the black characters in it are mostly stereotypes. It was published in 1936 and filmed in 1939. Gone With the Wind is dismissed by its critics as romanticizing the Confederacy
and the Old South, when on the contrary, if you look past all the melodrama and hoop skirts and fiddle-dee-dees you can find a strong anti-Confederacy statement.
Gone With the Wind contains strong black characters and staunchly anti-slavery white characters, most notably the character of Ashley Wilkes. My takeaway has always been that it's a scathing indictment of the Confederacy and the hubris of
Confederates who believed they could prevail against the economic and military might of the United States government. Admittedly all this comes across more in the book, but it's there in the film too.
Artistic works of decades past should be viewed in the context of the time in which they were created, not censored. It's unfair to hold them to present-day standards.
Instead of being banned, it could be presented in an educational forum discussing the issues surrounding it and how society has changed since the 1930s in its perception of them.
The Bigger Drive Home
City Beat Preston, 8 June 2017, 18:35
City Beat Preston is a community radio station broadcasting in Preston, Lancashire.
The Bigger Drive Home is the station’s drive-time programme, broadcast every Monday to Thursday between 15:00 and 19:00.
Ofcom received a complaint about an edition of the programme broadcast on 8 June 2017 which referred to transgender people. Towards the end of the programme the presenter read out a list of people who were celebrating their birthdays on that date
and then said:
“And if you’re out and about having a few drinks tonight, don’t forget like I always tell you – if you are single and you meet somebody tonight, make sure you know exactly what they’re gonna be looking like in the morning. I know [another
CityBeat presenter], he does it all the time. Goes out, has a few beers, meets a girl and then wakes up in the morning and finds out it’s, er, a transgender. Ah! [laughter] Can I say that? ‘Course I can!”
Around two and a half minutes later, and following an advertising break, the presenter said:
“And by the way, I was only joking about transgenders and [another CityBeat presenter]”.
Ofcom considered Rule 2.3:
“In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…”.
Ofcom decision: Breach of rule 2.3
Ofcom considered whether the broadcast contained material which could be considered offensive. The presenter sought to make a joke by referring to a colleague’s experience with transgender people. We considered this had the effect of portraying
transgender people in a negative and derogatory way and therefore had the potential to be offensive.
We took into account that the presenter went on to say: “And by the way, I was only joking about transgenders and [another CityBeat presenter]”. In Ofcom’s view, this may have provided some limited mitigation to the potential offence. However, we
considered that the presenter’s use of the collective noun “transgenders” had further potential to cause offence.
Therefore, for the reasons outlined above, we considered that the content was in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.
John Sutherland is Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus of Modern English Literature at UCL. He wrote in the Guardian about the appranet 'banning' of Fanny Hill at Royal Holloway, University of London/ He wrote:
Many will have read the Fanny is banned story and thought: Those millennial nervous nellies, whatever next? My guess is that it is silly-season tosh. The book will be referred to, as necessary and instructive, but is not required reading. The
professor who is alleged to have done the banning is Judith Hawley. I know her personally. She is the world's leading authority on Tristram Shandy, a novel thought so improper even Cleland called its author, Laurence Sterne, a pornographer.
Now Judith Hawley, the academic associated with the 'ban' has responded in the Guardian saying that the 'ban' was misreported nonsense. She explained:
I didn't, as I was accused in the papers, remove Fanny Hill from the university course reading list for The Age of Oppositions, 1660-1780 following a consultation with students as the Times reported. It was never on the course, therefore it could
not have been withdrawn ( or banned, as the Evening Standard put it ).
But she does go on to trying arguing that the academic environment of trigger words, no platforming and offence taking more an 'evolution' of free speech rather than reprehensible censorship. She said:
But it would be wrong to represent all current students as refusing to listen to views they don't want to hear. Rather, we could think about this in terms of an evolution in free speech. Students are raising questions about who has the right to
speak, the right to determine the agenda, and calling for a diversity of writers to be taught.
Two posts on the promoter's Facebook page advertising his Coco Beach Monday's club night at Lola Lo nightclub in
a. A post seen on their own Facebook page on 13 April 2017 included a picture of a female with her head titled back, her mouth wide open, her tongue extended out of her mouth and liquid being dropped in her eye with the accompanying text FREE
BUBBLY & VIP FOR GROUPS DISCOUNTED DRINKS & BIG TUNES ALL NIGHT.
b. An event invite for the Coco Beach Mondays club night seen on the complainants Facebook feed on 13 April 2017 included the same picture as above with the accompanying text Nice artwork 206 haha leaving to the imagination whats [sic] out of
The ASA challenged whether the ads:
1. linked alcohol with sexual activity; and
2. featured alcohol being served irresponsibly.
The ASA also received two complaints:
3. Both complainants believed that the image was sexually explicit and objectified women and challenged whether the ads were offensive.
ASA Assessment: complaints upheld
The ASA was concerned by Coco Beach Monday's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, and ruled that they had breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive
response to our enquiries and told them to do so in the future.
We considered that the way the model was posed with her head titled back, her mouth wide open with her tongue extended out and the liquid being poured out of shot, meant that the image was inherently sexual in nature. We considered that although
the exact type of liquid being poured in to the models eye was not revealed in the image, it was heavily implied to be alcohol. Further, the text contained in the image promoted free bubbly and discounted drinks available at the club night. We
therefore considered that because the image used in the ads was inherently sexual in nature and the text promoted free alcohol at the event, that it linked alcohol with sexual activity and therefore breached the Code.
The ads demonstrated alcohol being administered through the eyeball, known as eyeballing. This method of alcohol consumption had associated health risks. We concluded that the ads portrayed a style of drinking that was unwise and showed alcohol
being handled irresponsibly and therefore was in breach of the Code.
We considered the image used in the ads to be sexually gratuitous and provocative, and that it mimicked the style of facial pornography. This was further emphasised in ad (b) by the accompanying comment, which stated that the Facebook user should
imagine where the liquid came from. We considered that the image that appeared in both ads, taken together with the sexually suggestive comment that accompanied ad (b), objectified women. We therefore considered that the ads were sexist and likely
to cause serious wide spread offence.
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Coco Beach Monday's to ensure their future advertising was prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society, and to ensure they did not link alcohol to sexual activity or
to show alcohol being handled or served irresponsibly. Further, we told them that they should ensure their ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
,ASA have published a report Depictions, Perceptions and Harm
arguing for stronger censorship of ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics which the ASA claims might be harmful to people, including ads which mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes. ASA wrote in a press
Responding to the evidence, our sister body, CAP -- the authors of the UK Advertising Codes - will develop new standards on ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics. We will then administer and enforce those standards. CAP
will also use the evidence in the report to clarify standards that reflect our existing position on ads that objectify or inappropriately sexualise people or suggest it is acceptable to be unhealthily-thin.
The announcement comes at the conclusion of a major review into gender stereotyping in ads, with evidence suggesting that harmful stereotypes can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults. These
stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which plays a part in unequal gender outcomes, with costs for individuals, the economy and society.
The aim of the review has been to consider whether regulation is doing enough to address the potential for harm or offence arising from gender stereotypes in ads. We have a track record of banning ads on grounds of objectification, inappropriate
sexualisation and for suggesting it is desirable for young women to be unhealthily thin. But we have ruled that ads that feature gender stereotypical roles or characters are unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to their audience.
To test whether standards are in the right place, the review examined gender stereotyping across several spheres, including body image, objectification, sexualisation, gender characteristics and roles, and mocking people for not conforming to
gender stereotypes. To reach conclusions, evidence was gathered through a major independent research study by GfK -- the findings of which are also published today - alongside a wide-ranging consultation of expert stakeholders.
The key findings are these:
- The evidence shows support for the ASA's track record of banning ads that objectify or inappropriately sexualize people, and ads which suggest that it's acceptable for young women to be unhealthily thin
- But a tougher line is needed on ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics which can potentially cause harm, including ads which mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes
The report indicates that the latter should be considered on grounds of potential harm to the audience, banning those gender stereotypes that are most likely to reinforce assumptions that adversely limit how people see themselves and how others
New standards are not intended to ban all forms of gender stereotypes. For example, the evidence falls short of calling for a ban on ads depicting a woman cleaning or a man doing DIY tasks. But, subject to context and content considerations, the
evidence suggests the following types of depictions are likely to be problematic:
- An ad which depicts family members creating a mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up
- An ad that suggests a specific activity is inappropriate for boys because it is stereotypically associated with girls, or vice-versa
- An ad that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks
CAP will report publically on its progress before the end of 2017 and commits, as always, to delivering training and advice on the new standards in good time before they come into force in 2018.
Chief Executive of the ASA, Guy Parker, said:
Portrayals which reinforce outdated and stereotypical views on gender roles in society can play their part in driving unfair outcomes for people. While advertising is only one of many factors that contribute to unequal gender outcomes, tougher
advertising standards can play an important role in tackling inequalities and improving outcomes for individuals, the economy and society as a whole.
Ella Smillie, lead report author, said:
Our review shows that specific forms of gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to harm for adults and children. Such portrayals can limit how people see themselves, how others see them, and limit the life decisions they take. Tougher standards
in the areas we've identified will address harms and ensure that modern society is better represented."