Ovira Apologises For “Thank Your Lucky Stars” Campaign After Criticism From Activists

Ovira Apologises For “Thank Your Lucky Stars” Campaign After Criticism From Activists
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Period product start-up Ovira has apologised for the way it handled its viral campaign, “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” after being accused of using victims’ pain for pr. 

Respected journalist Nina Funnell has called out Ovira for failing to gain consent from victims before considering launching the campaign, and her comments have been supported by activist Tarang Chawla. So, what exactly happened? 

Originally, Ovira launched the Thank Your Lucky Star” campaign in reaction to the ruling in the Nick Drummond case, which made headlines because Drummond, a Knox Grammer alumni, had his conviction erased after he punched a woman. The judge famously told him to: “Thank Your Lucky Stars” 

7news reported that Judge Richard Sutherland said: “(He made) a lewd and completely inappropriate remark towards someone he didn’t know but whose dress might have been perceived by a former student of Knox to be provocative.” Then the judge declared it wasn’t “necessary” for Drummond’s convictions to be recorded. 

The ruling received widespread backlash and conversations about privilege, consent, assault and victims erupted online.

In response, Ovira launched a campaign of mobile billboards around Sydney, that featured quotes from the judge presiding on the case. It was powerful, provocative and led to a lot of media coverage for Ovira. 

The campaign also raised over $35,000 dollars, which Ovira said would be spread out across a number of charities. 

The funds will be evenly distributed to the below nonprofits:

  • Lou’s Place
  • KYUP! Project
  • Illawarra Women’s Health Centre
  • Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia
  • Teach Us Consent

However, Funnell took to Twitter to call out Ovira for failing to get consent from both victims involved in a timely manner. 

Funnell wrote on Twitter, “Hey Ovira. Don’t bullshit an investigative journalist. You DIDN’T have consent when I asked. But by me asking, you scurried and got approval, after the stunt had already happened.

“If you’re going to campaign on consent, you should learn that you can’t obtain it after the fact.”

Tarang Chawla backed up Funnell’s claims, with an in-depth Twitter thread, where he called out the brand for allegedly failing to get consent from both victims, until the brand was informed they should. 

Chawla also raised the issue that Ovira had used statistics on social media regarding Aboriginal and First Nations people concerning violence, to seemingly support its campaign.

Chawla alleged that Ovira had failed to choose a charity that specifically supports Aboriginal and First Nations people, to donate some of the proceeds raised. 

Founder of Ovira, Alice Williams, told B&T, said: “We understand the urgency of providing additional support to survivor victims who face additional structural inequalities, including First Nations women, so we are donating to organisations that advocate for reforms and provide resources specifically for these communities.

“For example, R&DVSA and Illawarra Women’s Health Centre have both been involved in calling for the government to invest in community-led responses to violence and trauma that embrace First Nations healing knowledge.”

 

Chawla also accused the brand of deleting comments that called out these issues on social media. 

In response, Ovira apologised on Instagram but clarified it had consent from the victims. 

Ovira said; “We organised this campaign while gaining the consent and support from both victims. We received their consent before stating what we did to others, and before launching the campaign.”

“We had a Plan B in place if this consent was not obtained. We would never put out the campaign without it.”

Ovira added: “I am completely heartbroken by and sorry for any hurt our mistakes have caused.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ovira (@ovira)

Chawla responded to the apology via Twitter and pointed out it failed to address key issues or take responsibility. 

Chawla said on Twitter, “their statement fails to recognise that they were in a position to proceed without consent from one of the victims less than 18 hours prior to the launch. And that it was up to @ninafunnell to bring to their attention that this is a baseline requirement when working for victims.”

Funnell told B&T, “It’s really disappointing because the intention was benign. This year we’ve seen a lot of corporates and media try to capitalise on the issue of violence against women, 

“We want corporates to step up in this place and take a stance against violence against women. but not simply to boost their own brand, and one way to tell what a companies agenda is to scrutinise their methods

“Things like, did they get consent from everyone involved? Did they consider how this might impact any survivors currently? Did they look into the research on whether shame-based tactics have any affect?

“I don’t want to discourage, but I want to encourage companies to think about how they do it safely, ethically and responsibly, and if they a mistake they need to immediately own up to it, not try and spin the situation.”

Funnell also took to Twitter and alleged that Ovira got consent only after she called them out.

She wrote: “When I asked if you had both survivors consent to do your stunt, U said yes. And yet at the time, I asked, you didn’t. U scurried to get it and retrofit it.”

Funnell also told B&T, that she was not impressed by the language used in the apology, “The line where she says, we were gaining consent, is mealy-mouthed and aimed at confusing or disorienting the readers, as to what has really happened, it’s a form of cowardice.” 

 

Williams told B&T, “We got written consent and support from both victims before we went ahead with the campaign.

“We are all working towards the same goal, better awareness on what’s happening to women and more reform in our legal system.” 

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Nina Funnell Ovira Tarang Chawla Thank Your Lucky Stars

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