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Target stands firm against homophobic Gok Wan complaints

Target has stood by Gok Wan in the face of homophobic complaints from the public about his being the advertising face of the retailer.

Wan’s ad for Target bras, where he refers to women’s breasts as “bangers” generated several complaints to the Ad Standards Board from viewers including some who did not like seeing an openly gay man on television.

gok wan target

Samples published by the ASB included:

“Its an offence to any decent person to watch some queer guy advertising and blaspheming and using insulting descriptive words re a woman’s body and to be prancing around half dressed guys.A female body is a beautiful thing, not to be cheapened by a p*****r  (asterixed by Mumbrella) calling breasts.”

(Ad courtesy of Ebiquity)

And: “BANGERS”!!! I WAS BREAST FED, NOT BANGER FED! It’s an insult to sooooo many Aussie men and woman to see p***s (asterixed by Mumbrella) on tv but you let it happen. I haven’t even started stirring up the national CWA clubs yet so look out!”

And “I find it distasteful that he uses the term “bangers” to describe women’s breasts. If a straight man were to use similar language during prime time TV, there would be a huge outcry by women claiming sexist behaviour. There should be no different standards of acceptable language simply because a man appears to be gay.”

However, Target responded:

“Gok Wan was chosen as a brand ambassador for Target because of his personality and reputation, not his sexuality. He feels good about who he is as he is. He is playfully irreverent, colourful and fun. He has a great capacity for making other people feel good about themselves too. Target strongly believes that a person’s sexuality is irrelevant to their worth as a person. Target makes no apology for using a gay man in its advertising and we do not believe that this should be grounds for upholding a complaint.

The ASB cleared the ad of breaching any guidelines, ruling: “The Board considered that the overall tone of the advertisement is positive and light-hearted and is intended to draw the attention of women to the various bras available in store and also to the fact that it is important to purchase the correct bra size.

“The Board considered the term “bangers” and recognised that some members of the community may be offended by the reference to women‟s breasts as bangers. The Board considered that the word is not commonly used in Australia in this manner but that in this instance it is not used in a derogatory way and that the use of the term bangers is one that is used by Gok as part of his programs and persona.

“The Board considered that the term “bangers” is not inappropriate and not strong or obscene language in this context.”

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