Channel 4’s ‘Bigger, Fatter, Gypsier’ adverts, for their Big Fat Gypsy Wedding have been ruled ‘offensive,’ after a renewed investigation into claims that they racially demeaned the travelling community and exposed their children to bullying and abuse. In February, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) judged that the adverts were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and claimed that the adverts reflected the content of the programme.
An independent review was ordered, however, after the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB) complained that the adverts were racially demeaning. In the review, the ASA took advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission and found that the adverts featuring teenagers wearing low-cut tops, in a “sexualised” way, could enforce prejudicial views against the gypsy and traveller community and were likely to cause ‘serious’ offence to some members of that community, The Telegraph reports. The review has also ruled that Channel 4 acted irresponsibly when they took the decision to depict a child in a sexualised manner.
A statement from the ASA said “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 and was likely to cause serious offence to the gypsy and traveller community." The ITMB have called for a full apology from those responsible for creating the adverts.