Was The 'Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' Advert Racist?
The Advertising Standards Authority have performed a U-turn on their decision not to investigate Channel 4's adverts for their 'Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' programme. Channel 4 advertised the series around the country with huge billboard adverts, emblazoned with the huge slogan "Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier." At the time, the Asa received over 370 complaints that the slogan was racist. They decided against an investigation, however, claiming that it "would not cause widespread offence."
The Metro report today (May 29, 2012), however, that Asa claim they did not know that one of those many complainants was the Irish Traveller Movement of Britain. They are now saying that this was a "material fact to which they should have had regard" and have confirmed that they will now be conducting an investigation into the advert. The investigation was launched on Friday (May 25, 2012) and the Asa will now seek to determine whether or not Channel 4 have in fact breached their regulations with regards to causing widespread offence.
The London Gypsy and Traveller Movement wrote a letter to Channel 4 asking whether or not they would have so readily incorporated other ethnic groups into such as a slogan; for instance "Jewisher" "more Asian" and "Blacker." The response from Channel 4 stated "The word refers to the fact that this series offers even greater access and insight to the communities featured and the terms 'gipsy' or 'gypsier' are not being used in a negative context."