Pistorius advert by Paddy Power attracts 50 complaints

Advertising campaign described as ‘disgusting’ by father of Nicola Furlong

Some 50 complaints have been received about the Paddy Power advertisement in relation to the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) said the complaints have been coming in over the last two days since the Paddy Power advertisement which states: "It's Oscar Time. Money Back If He Walks. We will refund all losing bets on the Oscar Pistorius trial if he is found not guilty."

The advertisements were timed for the start of the Olympic and Paralympic star Pistorius’s trial for murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his suburban Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day last year.

They have caused a lot of outrage. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK have confirmed that they have received 46 complaints. An online petition on change.org calling for Paddy Power to withdraw the betting campaign has received more than 110,000 signatures.

ASAI spokeswoman Orla Twomey said they are now examining the complaints with a view to getting a response from Paddy Power.

The ASAI has a voluntary code and if found guilty of a breach, Paddy Power will have to withdraw the advertisement.

The father of murdered teenager Nicola Furlong said he was outraged by comments made by Paddy Power himself that the company were justified in running the bet because of the worldwide interest in the case.

Ms Furlong, an exchange student, was murdered at a hotel in Tokyo two years ago. American musician Richard Hinds was convicted of her murder.

Andrew Furlong responded: "If one of his kids were murdered and I went into a betting office and I wanted to put a fiver on the outcome, what would he say back to me?

“They have family [the Steenkamps]. They are going through what we have been going through and he has the audacity to suggest that it is a novelty bet. He does not know what he is doing.”

Mr Furlong said that if Mr Power had laid bets on the outcome of his daughter's murder trial while they were in Japan: "I would say nothing to him, I'd be looking at him on the ground when I came back."

RTÉ Liveline presenter Joe Duffy described the Paddy Power advertising campaign as "despicable".

He acknowledged that he was not supposed to give his own opinion on matters, but would make an exception in the case of the Paddy Power advertising campaign.

He criticised Paddy Power chief executive Patrick Kennedy for his defence of the advertisement.

Mr Kennedy told Morning Ireland that the company was justified in running the bet because it was the "most talked about and reported story of the year. This is about the trial and not about the murder."

He said it was not Paddy Power’s intention to withdraw the advertisement.