Fathers4Justice advert banned: why?
Filed under: Your Rights
So why did it ban the advert, and why do we need to have adverts banned at all?
The banThe advert in question featured a toddler, with words of hatred drawn on its face, such as wife beater and pig. The copy read "Say it with hate this Mother's Day' and was addressed to advertisers on the Mumsnet website, accusing the site of featuring abusive and anti-men comments and saying "We believe that the general sexist labelling of men and boys as 'rapists', 'paedophiles' and 'wife beaters' is as unacceptable and offensive as racism and homophobia."
It added: "Fathers4Justice are asking advertisers to suspend their advertising on Mumsnet until founder Justine Roberts adopts a zero tolerance policy to gender hatred."
InvestigationThe advert received ten complaints, so the ASA investigated. Fathers4Justice based their claim on comments posted by users on the forum. It sent supporting documents to the ASA to show that the comments were featured on the site, and claimed that Mumsnet was responsible for comments posted
It added that abusive, anti-male content continued to be posted on the site and considered that highlighting this was a matter of public interest and that the ad was an entirely legitimate way of raising this matter.
ResultThe ASA, however, said that it did not receive any evidence "that Mumsnet endorsed any of the views expressed on its web forums or any editorial content from the Mumsnet website to suggest that the website owners themselves harboured or promoted gender hatred against men or boys."
"We contacted Mumsnet who reiterated that they did not tolerate any kind of prejudice on the site and this included any kind of gender bias but users did need to bring this to their attention if action was to be taken."
It concluded that whilst some users of the website had made negative comments about men in its forums, it was misleading of Fathers4Justice to imply through this ad that Mumsnet themselves had made or endorsed those comments.
Why ban it?There will be those who argue that 10 upset people shouldn't merit time and money spent on an investigation. However, while in this instance there will not be any money lost as a result, it serves to highlight how vital a service the ASA does in highlighting a lack of fairness in advertising.
In the latest round of adjudications, it also looked at an advert where a company made claims on how much money could be saved by commuting by rail as opposed to by car - but used misleading figures. It also looked at an advert which failed to include VAT and shipping charges in an advertised deal - and therefore mislead customers.
And while the numbers complaining about these adverts will always be low, if it saves thousands more from being mislead, surely it must be worth the time and money spent on investigation.
But what do you think? Let us know in the comments.