“Bestiality” in “demeaning” Sportsbet ad dismissed by watchdog

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 23 March 2015

The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has dismissed a complaint for “bestiality” and the “exploitation of animals” in a “Fifty Shades of Grey” parody ad by Sportsbet.

The ad shows a woman in an interview at an office building, but replaces the character of Mr Grey with a greyhound.

However the advert received a number of complaints, with concerns it is depicting an “erotic relationship between a woman and greyhound”.

One complainant said: “The ad suggests that a woman has sex with a dog, the ad then proceeds to show her dressed in a rabbit costume and being chased on a race track by the dog she has been suggested to of had sex with, showing her as "live bait" for the dog.”

“[It is] horrendously sexist and demeaning to women and implies a sexual, subservient relationship with a dog.”

Another said: “ [It has] innuendo of bestiality, exploitation of animals. It is offensive and demeaning to women. It is beyond bad taste. 51% of the population should not be demeaned and degraded in public for the enjoyment if the other 49%.”

However the ASB dismissed the complaint given the context of the advert.

“The board noted that whilst a sexual relationship between the woman and the greyhound is suggested the board considered that this suggestion is in the context of making fun of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey rather than an actual suggestion that the woman is having sex with the dog ,” The ASB said.

“The board noted that bestiality is illegal and that the majority of the community would find any suggestion of bestiality to be distasteful and inappropriate, however the board considered that in the context of a parody of a current movie promotion the advertisement is not of itself discriminatory towards or vilifying of women.”

In relation to the scene where the woman is dressed in the rabbit costume, the board noted community concerns in regards to greyhounds and live baiting but said the woman is clearly “playing with the dog” by dressing up in the costume.

In response, Sportsbet said: “Sportsbet regrets if the jovial nature of the advertisement was either misconstrued or may have offended the complainants, but we firmly reiterate our view that the advertisement does not breach the code.”

 

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