Complaints of homophobia against the ACT’s camp character Ricky Starr, based on 80s/90s cult fitness guru Richard Simmons, have been dismissed by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB).
The specific advertisement in question deals with the issue of people containing their recycling in plastic bags and uses the campaign character to deliver a simple message that your recycling can’t be recycled if it is in a plastic bag. We see Ricky running across the floor then bursting out of a recycling bin to demonstrate that bags should not be used. Check it out here:
Here are some of the other recycling ads:
A sample of complainants included the following: “I am offended at the actor pretending to be an obviously gay character Rickey Star who is very similar to Richard Simmons. The voice and over the top gestures are demeaning to gay men, embarrassing and is making fun of them for being different. I also find it incredibly irritating.
“I get he is supposed to be a parody of Richard Simmons but my gay son turned off the TV when this came on as it is such a mocking stereotype of a gay male. In this day and age, it would be the equivalent of showing someone with dark skin acting like a slave.
“Surely we are trying to move forward with acceptance and don’t need to see this. It offends me and I find it an embarrassing statement of where we are in our fight for gender equality.”
In response to the complaints, the ACT government said “The Ricky Starr character is based on Richard Simmons, an American fitness guru and actor whose popularity was at its peak in the 80s and 90s, when recycling first became mainstream. Due to his immense popularity in a period where people were first exposed to recycling (and when people were ‘psyched about recycling’), and his over-the-top personality, Simmons was identified as the perfect person to base a character on in order to deliver what can often be quite boring recycling messages.
“While the character used in the advertising is clearly flamboyant, this is a central part of the character development and relates closely to the way fitness videos from that era were presented by Simmons. Our contention is that the advertisement and the way the character presents is entirely within reasonable community standards.”
In its ruling the ASB said “the advertisement made no reference to homosexuality. The Board did not consider the advertisement was intended to mock gay people, as the character was using behavioural not sexual traits. The Board did note that the advertisement used an actor with flamboyant and exaggerated movements and an effeminate voice, but this was intended to be humorous and did not depict the actor as homosexual or vilifying homosexual relationships.”
Please login with linkedin to commentINDEPTH
Sustainable soap brand Single Use Ain’t Sexy has been greeted with a huge influx of support after raising over half a million dollars in funding via a crowdfunding campaign. The brand has launched itself into the ‘green economy’ by calling on the Australian public to financially back them and their mission to get Aussies to […]
Queer Artist Ryan James Caruthers has publically slammed software company Unfold after it asked to use the artist’s work for free as part of its Pride Month social media campaign. Caruthers took to Instagram to show screenshots of the conversation he had with Unfold after it asked the artist to share 12 of his images […]
After relaunching in September last year, TWOOBS has become a ‘kinda’ shoe brand by also focusing on making the world a ‘kinder’ place and creating more consumer-conscious shopping. The vegan shoe brand founded by sisters Jess and Stef Dadon changed its marketing approach last year and stopped using social media to push sales the old-fashioned […]
Highly experienced tourism marketer Kelly Ryan has been appointed to lead the marketing efforts at Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC). During the past 12 years, Ryan has supported Canberra’s tourism industry in senior marketing roles, including as director of strategy and insights as well as director of marketing at VisitCanberra. Most recently, Ryan has been working […]
GHO Sydney has developed a new educational platform for Family Planning NSW to help parents and carers of children with disabilities navigate the changes to their bodies, emotions and social interactions. The project, ‘Planet Puberty’, was made possible through funding from the federal government’s Department of Social Services, and was co-designed with people with disability […]
JCDecaux today announced conservation organisation, Bush Heritage Australia, as its major charity partner for 2021. The partnership is part of a series of ‘social impact’ initiatives the business is launching this year, under the banner of JCDecauxHEART. JCDecauxHEART focuses on three areas of social impact: health and mental health, environmental sustainability, and enriching urban communities. […]
Shameless Media’s Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald’s latest podcast, The Books That Changed My Life, will launch exclusively on LiSTNR on Tuesday, 15 June. Throughout the series Michelle and Zara will talk with guests including Kevin Kwan, Laura Henshaw, Jock Zonfrillo, Susan Carland, Hamish Blake and Delta Goodrem about the books that have had a profound impact […]
In celebration of Pride Month, cult streetwear brand Champion has announced an Australia-and New Zealand-first Pride range, Champions of Pride, and ongoing partnership with the Queer Sporting Alliance. Championing a cause, celebrating community, and aiming to create real change, the capsule collection proudly heroes the Pride colours in a selection of signature Champion tees, iconic […]
Following the successful deployment of BankiFi’s technology platform at The Co-operative Bank in the UK, BankiFi has appointed Lloyd Parata to lead their expansion into the Australian Financial Services market. BankiFi’s technology platform ensures banks remain relevant by offering SMEs an innovative solution to operate their business, whilst avoiding common challenges like late payment. Parata, […]
Mars Wrigley 5 Gum has partnered with Twitch to launch Team CLUTCH, a team of Twitch streamers who will assemble on for three live squad streams tackling popular games like Fortnite while embodying the brand’s ethos of ‘life happens in 5’. This partnership builds on 5 Gum’s 2020 Twitch activation, and is set to create […]