'Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' campaign ruled offensive

Wed, Oct 3, 2012, 01:00

ADVERTISING USED by Channel 4 to promote its Big Fat Gypsy Wedding TV series on Irish travellers and gypsies were offensive and irresponsible, presented traveller girls in a sexualised way and endorsed ‘negative stereotypes’, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled.

Four posters, under the headline ‘Bigger, Fatter, Gypsier’ were used to promote the programme’s second series, with one showing a young boy looking aggressively into camera, while another showed two young women wearing low-cut bras.

The advertisements were considered by the ASA following nearly 400 complaints, including one from the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain (ITMB), though both the authority’s executive and council initially decided that the complaints did not warrant investigation.

The ITMB and eight other complainants successfully sought an independent review of the ASA’s decision and the case was re-opened.

Defending its conduct, Channel 4 said the Bigg, Fat Gypsy Wedding series has done much to provide ‘a greater understanding of the traditions and practices of the communities and shown the challenges, including prejudice and hostility, the community faced from those that did not understand their culture’.