UK & World News
Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Ads Banned Over Prejudice
Two adverts for Channel 4's My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding have been banned as offensive and irresponsible.
The ruling, from advertising watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority, is a partial reversal of a decision earlier this year.
Four posters for the documentary featured the words "Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier" over an image of a young boy looking directly at the camera and others of two teenagers wearing low-cut bra tops and three young girls dressed for their first Holy Communion standing in front of a caravan.
They originally drew 372 complaints.
The ASA in February judged that although the adverts "might not be to everyone's taste", they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence as they reflected the content of the programme.
But an independent review recommended that the ASA reinvestigate the campaign following a request by the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain which had complained that the ads racially demeaned them and exposed their children to bullying and abuse.
Defending the campaign, Channel 4 said it centred on using real and intimate photographic portraits of gypsy and traveller life "in a style to reflect the journalistic intent of the series".
Informed consent had been obtained from all subjects or their relevant parent or guardian and final copies of the ads sent to all the families involved, with no objections.
But the ASA, on advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, decided the adverts featuring the young boy and the low-cut top-wearing teenagers could enforce prejudicial views against the gypsy and traveller community and were likely to cause serious offence to some members.
It also ruled that Channel 4 acted irresponsibly by depicting a child - one of the two young teenagers pictured in low-cut tops - in a sexualised way.
It found that two other adverts showing a man leading a horse across a field with caravans in the background and the three young girls dressed for Holy Communion did not breach the advertising code.
"We noted that the boy in the image was shown in close-up and had his lips pursed in a manner that we considered was likely to be seen as aggressive," the ASA said in a statement.
"We considered that negative image, when combined with the strapline which suggested that such behaviour was "Gypsier", would be interpreted by many members of the gypsy and traveller communities and some of the wider public to mean that aggressive behaviour was typical of the younger members of the gypsy and traveller community.
It said of the ad featuring the two teenagers: "We understood that the photo was an accurate depiction of how the young women had chosen to dress for the occasion at which they had been photographed and we considered that it was clear that they were dressed for a night out.
"However, we noted that they were heavily made-up and wearing low cut tops and we considered that, when combined with the strapline and in particular the word "Gypsier", the ad implied that appearance was highly representative of the gypsy and traveller community in a way that irresponsibly endorsed that prejudicial view."
It said that Channel 4 "acted irresponsibly" because, even though the girl on the right of the poster was wearing an outfit she had chosen herself, she was 15 when the picture was taken.