Ad watchdog upholds complaints against ‘highly sexualised’ and ‘violent’ 50 Shades Freed trailer

Two television trailers for the movie 50 Shades Freed have been banned by the ad watchdog for depicting violence and highly sexualised scenes.

A complaint said to Ad Standards said: “It is not ok to air adverts with sexual content and clear threats of violence, including bedroom scenes that depict bondage/nudity/holding whips on a woman’s neck/ holding a knife to someone’s throat.”

Another complaint agreed, commenting: “Just don’t think it’s appropriate to be showing the sex scene in this ad so early in the evening. The scene shows a woman tied up, wearing lingerie and a blind fold while a man suggestively touches her. This is not appropriate for young eyes to be seeing.”

The advertiser, Universal Pictures, said the ads were produced in line with the “sexy” nature of the film and were all in context.

Universal Pictures and MediaCom worked with the Commercials Advice Board to obtain a “J” rating – Parental Guidance/Warning, the advertiser said.

The Ad Standards board concluded the ads weren’t degrading or exploitative as the woman in the scene appeared “confident”.

However, the ad watchdog found the trailer for 50 Shades Freed portrayed levels of violence and threats which were inappropriate to a wide audience, including children.

The scene where a man holds a knife to the woman’s throat was considered a breach of the the AANA Code of Ethics as the woman appears scared.

The trailer was also banned for its “highly sexualised scenes”including “a man in the shower with a woman’s arms wrapping around his torso, and a blindfolded woman tied to a rack being kissed
by a man with his hand around her throat”.

“The overall impression is very sexualised. The Panel noted that while there are no breasts or genitals visible there is a strong suggestion of nudity in the shower scene which combined with an embrace portrayed a level of sexualisation which would be inappropriate for the broad audience which includes children,” Ad Standards concluded.


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