ANZ unveils 2015 GayTMs as branch attacked by gay activists accusing bank of ‘pinkwashing’

ANZ Bank’s launch of its 2015 GayTMs today has been overshadowed by a second attack on a New Zealand branch which appears to have been done by a gay rights group accusing the bank of “pinkwashing”.

The Ponsonby branch of ANZ, in inner city Auckland, was last night attacked with pink paint and with posters put up on its front window which criticised the bank for commercialising gay rights.

ANZ Gaytm Attack

Hand and Anzabella

Hand and Anzabella

It is the second attack, in a week, on the Ponsonby branch by the group calling itself “Queers Against Injustice” and came on the same day that the bank unveiled its 2015 GayTMs in an event on Oxford St Sydney.

Today’s launch event saw Mark Hand managing director, retail distribution at ANZ, together with drag queen “Anzabella”, unveil the GayTMs that included a disco ball GayTM along with a ‘bat your eyelashes’ GayTM. 

It is the second year the bank has run its GayTM campaign to coincide with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras after winning a string of awards globally for its innovative use of outdoor advertising.

Source: ANZ

Source: ANZ

The bank tweeted about the the attacks on its New Zealand branch this morning: “Shame people resort to vandalism to make a statement. Staff – str8 &LGBTI alike – gutted.”

An unknown gay activist group has since posted a statement online claiming responsibility for the attack and taking aim at the bank for commercialising the Auckland Pride Festival, which is being held throughout February.

In the post the group, referencing an initial attack on an ATM last week writes: “We targeted the Ponsonby GAYTM firstly to draw attention to the commercialisation of the Pride Festival.

“As queer subjects, we object to the representation of queer identity in terms of consumptive and wealthy citizens. Associating queer politics with personal banking within a gentrified area reduces the queer subject to a bourgeois, cis-gender, white, male subject, and in doing so reproduces many of the intersecting injustices by which queer subjects are marginalised.

“We sought to draw attention to the lack of representation of bodies that counter the racist, classist and cis-biased nature of Pride.”

GayTM attackThe group also claimed responsibility for the initial attack over the weekend on a Ponsonby GayTM, although it has since said the New Zealand media “misrepresented” the nature of the attack.

“This misrepresentation happened through a lack of awareness on the part of the reporters supported by probable concealment of the accompanying message by ANZ, who tweeted a photo of the GAYTM with the poster on the ground.

“Pinkwashing, a term we defined and outlined in the attached poster, describes the way that institutions co-opt LGBT struggles to distract from and disguise unethical behaviour.”

Comment is being sought from ANZ.

Last year GayTMs in Sydney were also attacked however, its thought those acts of vandalism were homophobic attacks. 

Nic Christensen 

Update: The ANZ’s Craig Bonnington, chair of the ANZ Pride Network in New Zealand said:

“While we respect people have different views on the GAYTMs, we’re very disappointed that some have resorted to vandalism to make their point.

“ANZ’s GAYTMs, and our involvement in the Mardi Gras in Sydney and the Pride Parade in New Zealand, is about celebrating a culture of diversity, inclusion and respect at ANZ.

“It’s also a way we can demonstrate to our staff and customers the importance we place on workplace diversity and an acknowledgment of the tremendous contribution our LGBTI staff bring to community and to ANZ.

“We’re in the process of having both branches and the ATMs cleaned and we’ll be ensuring there is additional security available to prevent it from happening again.”

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