Paddy Power trans ad falls at last hurdle
Paddy Power advert which asks viewers to 'spot the trans' has been pulled after a flood of complaints
A TV advert which asks viewers to 'spot the trans' at a horse race has been pulled in the UK.
The advert by UK and Ireland bookmaker Paddy Power shows women at the Cheltenham Festival – a prestigious horse race in England – and invites viewers to decide whether they are 'stallions' or 'mares'.
Yesterday, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) launched an investigation after receiving around 500 complaints about the 30-second TV spot, which asks viewers to speculate on the gender of women filmed at the event.
After reportedly holding a crisis meeting this morning, broadcasters and TV advertising watchdog Clearcast decided to stop airing the advert in the country.
A spokesman for Paddy Power said they were 'surprised and disappointed' by the decision.
He said: 'This decision is especially frustrating given that the commercial was already pre-approved by Clearcast, just one week ago, who then considered the humor in the advert, while not to everyone’s taste, fell short of causing offence.
'Furthermore, we exclusively cast members of the trans community in the various transgender roles in the commercial.'
According to the spokesman, the bookmakers asked national transgender group The Beaumont Society for feedback on the script and were told there was 'nothing untoward with the advert concept' and was not inappropriate.
Trans activist Jane Fae welcomed the decision but warned 'there may yet be considerable collateral damage.'
She said: 'My complaint about the advert was never about offence but about the danger of a backlash, should the ad be pulled, which could be more damaging.
'The backlash could come from the usual suspects – people who think it's funny to have a go at trans and people who won't accept it's a valid way to be.'
The ASA say they will still continue their investigation, despite the decision to suspend the ad.