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Meat ad moaners told to get lost by advertising watchdog

Meat ad moaners told to get lost by advertising watchdog

Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has dismissed complaints filed by Hindu groups against a controversial advertisement which featured Lord Ganesha at a nosh-up attended by a collection of deities.

According to this report, despite numerous complaints lodged by Hindu groups across the globe, the ASB declared the ad  – created by the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) – as:

Inclusive …  it does not, in its depiction, provide any one character with less favourable or unfair treatment by virtue of being in the group, nor is the depiction of the group done in a manner that subjects one character to humiliation, intimidation, hatred or ridicule by virtue only of being part of the group meal.

In defence, the MLA told the board:

The advertisement celebrates religious diversity and does not promote any act of discrimination, prejudice or vilification.

It depicts a “clearly fictional and humorous scene” which unites various divinities, prophets and icons at a dinner table, it said.

The advertisement portrays that, while there are many topics upon which different religions diverge, maybe lamb can bring everyone together.

In reference to specific complaints around the advertisement’s depiction of Ganesha, the MLA said it was their understanding:

That the Hindu faith does not forbid meat eating and that, while many Hindus abstain from eating beef (given the sacred nature of the cow to the faith), lamb is not similarly characterised. We acknowledge that many Hindus may nevertheless choose to abstain from eating any form of meat, however our understanding is that it is not a central tenet of the faith (contrasted with, for example, the Muslim faith and alcohol).

We note that Ganesha is not shown eating lamb or drinking alcohol at any point in the advertisement.

The MLA said their decisions were:

Informed by the actor who played the role of Ganesh who was a practising Hindu man.

The ASB ruled the advertisement did not break any of the Code of Ethics’ guidelines on account of religion.

And due to the advertisement’s light-hearted and humorous tone, the Board also ruled depiction of Ganesha was not unfair.

More than 200 complaints were lodged demanding the advertisement’s withdrawal.

The Hindu Council of Australia had called for the advertisement to be banned, saying it was:

A crude and deplorable attempt by the MLA to use images of Ganesha to promote lamb consumption.

The Australia India Business Council (AIBC) also expressed concern over the advertisement and said it was culturally insensitive and displayed remarkable naivety about its adverse impact on relationship with India.

It said that MLA should abandon using religious deities for promotional/ commercial purposes and demanded immediate withdrawal.

Last week, the High Commission of India also issued a statement saying it had made a “demarche” to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Communication and the Arts and Department of Agriculture over the “insensitive” advertisement.

The statement said the way Lord Ganesha was used for the advertisement was considered by the Indian community to be:

Offensive and hurting their religious sentiments. The Consulate General of India in Sydney has taken up the matter directly with Meat and Livestock Australia and urged them to withdraw the advertisement.

Hat tip: Gaurav Tyagi who penned this op-ed for the Freethinker about the controversy.

11 responses to “Meat ad moaners told to get lost by advertising watchdog”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    A welcome bit of sanity for once.

  2. Tee says:

    If only the protagonists of all the various strains of religion could get around a table for a meal and a bit of lighthearted banter without someone bursting in with an AK47 the world would be a better place. It will be even better when the pious realise how fucking hatefully stupid they are.

  3. Tee says:

    I foresee a series of 30 minute sitcoms based upon this idea … and then wholesale violence on the streets.

  4. CoastalMaineBird says:

    More than 200 complaints were lodged demanding the advertisement’s withdrawal.
    Should we lodge a complaint demanding the ad’s expansion?

    You must display this ad in more countries or my feelings will be hurt!

  5. L.Long says:

    HHHUUUUge number of complaints from Hindodos against this company! OK! now these hindodos don’t eat the company’s product! So the hindodos are going to hurt the company’s sales by….????? How exactly!

  6. Dianne Leonard says:

    I saw this ad on another web site a couple of weeks ago. Laughed my head off. Sent it on to several others and they got a kick out of it too. Just goes to show: religiots have no sense of humor. We atheists need more ads like this! A sitcom? Great idea, but it’d probably be unofficially banned in the US. Nobody here (no media anyway) has the courage to stand up to the christianbots.

  7. sailor1031 says:

    Two hundred complaints? Out of how many hindus in India alone – never mind the diaspora. As usual the outraged are an infinitesimal minority.

  8. Tee says:

    Hindus are crap at winding themselves up into frenzied spittle flecked tantrums compared to the muslims.

  9. 1859 says:

    So many gods, so many religions and so much stupidity to laugh at. This is why the bigots froth at the mouth at ridicule because their beliefs are exposed for what they are and the rest of humanity keels over laughing. A great ad.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Talking about taking offence; does anyone else watch Upstart Crow on BBC2? I completely missed the first series as I had my hands full here, but the second series is now being aired on Monday evenings, and I’m amazed that the Daily Mail hasn’t launched a campaign to have it cancelled due to its atheistic references (scripted by Ben Elton). I’m finding it a refreshing alternative to the usual sitcom trash dished up these days, anyway.

    https://youtu.be/d6Q4Fau3hoY

  11. Laura Roberts says:

    I’m actually amazed that Muslims haven’t been more outraged. Surely the joke about Mohammed having a daycare pickup refers to his 9-year-old bride? Or is there a more innocent context I’m unaware of? I thought it was hilarious myself.