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MLA’s diversity ad cleared of racism towards white people by ad watchdog

Meat & Livestock Australia’s recent TV ad talking about lamb as the only meat which can unite people of nearly every background has been cleared of racism towards white people.you_never_lamb_alone_screen-shot

The latest version of MLA’s ‘You’ll Never Lamb Alone’ campaign from The Monkeys caused wide community debate when it aired in September, featuring 150 people from different backgrounds including transgender comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, footballer Greg Inglis, Olympian Cathy Freeman and model Samantha Harris.

The ad opens with TV presenter Luke Jacobz announcing: “I’m here to address concerns that too many perky white males are contributing to a lack of diversity on our our screens”, a statement which angered one complainant, who wrote:

I’m anti-racist no matter what race is being vilified, including white people. This advertisement clearly states ‘too many WHITE people’ in its commercial, which is highly offensive.”

The ad then goes on to show Jacobz walking past a tree and morphing into Indian/Australian actor Arka Das, who continues: “And we couldn’t agree more…We’ve got everyone in the room.”Spring Lamb Diversity

Das later welcomes “people of colour”, something that another complainant wrote to the board about, whilst another claimed the Aboriginal duo asked “who’s first” are depicted eating kangaroo – which the board decided was incorrect and they are served lamb.

One complainant had argued there were no Aboriginal people represented in the ad, despite the prominent inclusion of Freeman and Harris amongst others.

In its submission over the complaints the MLA argued the: “Advertisements celebrate diversity and do not promote any act of discrimination, prejudice or vilification”.

It adds on Jacobz’s statement: “The tongue-in-cheek comment by no means treats white males unfavourably or seeks to ridicule such members of society. We submit that the reasonable viewer would not perceive this statement or the Advertisements as a whole to be racist or sexist. The Advertisements promote acceptance and tolerance – not bigotry or the incitement of hatred towards white Australian males.”

The Ad Standards Board agreed the comments were delivered in a “tongue-in-cheek” manner, and concluded “that overall the advertisement is inclusive and the humour is employed equally across all the races/ethnicities portrayed in the advertisement”.

Dismissing the complaints it said: “The Board considered that the advertisement did not portray or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of race.”

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