The Advertising Standards Authority rules that the adverts "irresponsibly endorsed prejudicial views"
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that two of Channel 4's billboard advertisements for their Big Fat Gypsy Wedding series "could enforce prejudicial views against the gypsy and traveller community and were likely to cause serious offence to some members."
Over 370 people raised complaints about the adverts, but these were initially rejected by the ASA, as Show Racism the Red Card reported in May. An independent review led to the case being revisited, following requests from the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB).
Speaking about today's ruling, ITMB's CEO Yvonne Macnamara said, “The ITMB applauds the decision of the Advertising Standard Authority. As a result of this decision, Channel 4’s Big Fat Gypsy brand has been held up to be morally bankrupt. In its evidence to the ASA investigation, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission described anti-Gypsy and Traveller racism as the last respectable racism. The ASA has today made clear that it is no longer acceptable.
“This is a stunning victory for Travellers and Gypsies. The ASA has condemned Channel 4’s advertising campaign for the appalling harm it has done to the mental and moral well-being of Gypsy and Traveller children. It has done this in unequivocal terms and Channel 4 should hang its corporate head in shame.
“The ITMB and the Gypsy and Traveller co-complainants call upon those responsible for these adverts to issue a full apology for the harm they have caused to children with their offensive campaign. We call on Channel 4 to repair the incredible harm they have done to the UK’s most vulnerable minorities.”
Laura Pidcock, Education Worker at Show Racism the Red Card said, "I am glad that the ASA has banned these adverts. They are based on a crude stereotype of Gypsy people. The slogan which included the word ‘Gypsier’ implies that Gypsy people are one homogenous group and there are no differences within the culture. The title of the programme ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ also ignores that the fact that there are other traveller groups that featured in the show. Programmes like this seek only to compound stereotypes which fuel racism."
Show Racism the Red Card delivers anti-racism education across the UK. Our education pack, Out of Site, is full of information and activity ideas to address racism towards Gypsy, Roma and Travellers. It is available as a free download or to purchase from our online shop.