Confusion adds to Libra transgender ad controversy

Tampon brand Libra has reacted to growing outrage from the transgender community towards a controversial ad featuring a drag queen in a women’s bathroom by claiming that the ad has not aired in Australia, despite the fact that it has already been showing in local cinemas.

Libra’s parent company SCA Hygiene brand published a statment on its Facebook page saying:

“We regret any offense taken to our recent Libra tampon advertisement in New Zealand. It was never intended to upset or offend anyone.

“Independent research was undertaken beforehand and the advertisement was viewed positively during that testing.

“We take all feedback very seriously, and in response to this, we will immediately review our future position with this campaign based on the feedback received. There are no further advertisements scheduled in New Zealand.

“The advertisement has not aired in Australia. The advertisement was placed on Libra’s Facebook page; however, this has now been removed.”

However, the statement does not refer to the ad’s current heavy cinema schedule. Over the Christmas and new year period, Mumbrella staff saw the ad running during trailers ahead of at least three different films. It is unclear whether Libra has pulled those ads or not.

A spokesman at SCA said that nobody was available to discuss whether the ad had been pulled from cinemas.

The ad – created by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne – has been criticised as an attack on the transgendered community.

Sandee Crack, the drag queen who appeared in the ad, issued a statement today saying:

“When I was presented with the Libra commercial and saw it as a great opportunity to participate in a positive step towards acceptance for drag queens & gay men among the wider community. Libra were both sensitive, professional and accepting of my needs as a drag queen & as a gay man throughout the production process. I never felt for one moment that I would be depicted as a trans woman, nor do I believe that I have been. We consciously kept my arm hair, chose strapless dresses to accentuate my broad shoulders and if you look carefully you will notice my stubble is slightly visible. They also ensured I looked much taller than the girl next to me. I was shown the ad prior to release and I was thrilled with it. I have received enormous support from both transgendered, gay & straight individuals from all over the World since the ad was released in New Zealand. I believe strongly that by putting a drag queen into the mainstream media, we are one step closer to acceptance and this is something I am very proud to be part of.”

The ad is the subject of a petition on the site which has already gained nearly 2000 signatories.

11am Janaury 9 update: Libra has called in PR agency Porter Novelli, sister agency to Clems, to help handle the issue. A spokesman told Mumbrella that the ad had aired in Australian cinemas for the past fortnight, but that had been ended as of yesterday.

A final decision on whether the ad will air in the future has not yet been taken as senior SCA staff are currently on leave.


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