Sunday, 19 February 2012

A complaint to Paddy Power

This morning I was made aware of a thoroughly unpleasant advert from Paddy Power, openly inciting viewers to "out" transwomen as a 'bit of fun' during Cheltenham Ladies Day.

I've written to Paddy Power's Director of PR to complain, the text of which is shown below:

Dear Mr Robertson

I'm writing to complain in the strongest terms about Paddy Power's recent "Ladies Day" advertisement.

The advert aims to shame transwomen, and suggests trying to differentiate "the stallions from the mares".

Transpeople in the UK experience discrimination & harassment on a daily basis. The 2010 crime statistics showed that recorded transgender hate crimes rose 14% on the previous year. Transwomen are subjected to abuse ranging from taunts & name-calling to sexual assault & rape. The 2007 CPS guidelines on prosecuting homophobic & transphobic hate crimes* states that these acts are taken particularly seriously because they "undermine people’s right to feel safe about... their gender identity, whether they are women or men."

By suggesting that transwomen should be sought out and openly identified as men, your advert not only shows a gross misunderstanding of gender identity, it is inciting viewers to transgender bullying and hatred. I'm sure this is something the ASA will view as seriously as the CPS, and I will be forwarding my complaint to them in addition to my direct complaint to you.

I request that on the basis of the offence caused by this advert, and particularly the incitement to transphobic bullying, Paddy Power withdraws the advert immediately and publishes a full apology to the trans community on your website. In reparation for the offence & potential harassment of transwomen incited by the advert, I also suggest Paddy Power considers donating to TransEquality ( who support transgendered people who have suffered bullying, abuse or hatred as a result of their gender identity.

I look forward to hearing from you.


I'm going to do a bit more research to find out where the ad's been broadcast on the TV before forwarding my complaint to the ASA. I'm also considering forwarding my complaint to the Police.

If you would like to contact Mr Robertson yourself you can find his contact details here.

I'll post any response I receive.

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