The elephant in the room is a god, ad watchdog decides
In September we reported that Hindus were rebuffed by Australia’s Advertising Standards Board, which found nothing offensive about a humorous lamb ad and rejected calls to ban it.
Well, according to this report, religious pester power finally won out, and the ASB has now imposed a ban, finding that the ad produced by the Meat and Livestock Corporation (MLA) was offensive to those of the Hindu faith.
The ad sang the praises of lamb as the food of the gods, with a message of unity and bringing people of diverse backgrounds together.
At issue is the portrayal of Ganesha, with the board ruling Ganesh got “less favourable treatment” in the ad. The Hindu god is a vegetarian.
In the ad there’s a line about:
Addressing the elephant in the room.
It was the “elephant in the room’ reference which caused the problem, because the deity – who appears in elephant form – was the only one singled out for his physical characteristics.
The phrase “might sound cute and clever”, the Board noted, but to Hindus, Ganesha is “not just an elephant” but rather:
The first deity in all Hindu services, and is considered the remover of obstacles.
It ruled the MLA had not given adequate consideration:
To how seriously some Australians take their religious views – and did not pay due attention to the level of offence about something important to those people.
The Board believed the ad:
Showed more respect to the Islam God Mohammed by not depicting him due, in the Board’s view, to greater profile of that religion in Australian society — with more people likely to know that a depiction would be a breach of a fundamental tenet of that religion.
That part of the ruling could now get the ASB into deep shit with even touchier Muslims, who would find it blasphemous to refer to Mo as a god. “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger,” and all that baloney.
The MLA “respectfully disagrees” with, but acknowledged the new ruling, saying in a statement:
The advertisement was conceived and intended to promote religious inclusiveness in a light hearted and humorous manner.
Most critically, it was never the intention of MLA to discriminate against or vilify any religious group. We confirm that the advertisement is no longer being broadcast.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn