‘Racist’ scene gets fish ad cut

'Blackface': Cape Town Fish Market was ordered to withdraw an ad depicting black politicians as liars.

'Blackface': Cape Town Fish Market was ordered to withdraw an ad depicting black politicians as liars.

Published Sep 5, 2013


MANAGEMENT of Cape Town Fish Market has apologised for a television advert the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said offended black people and must be withdrawn.

The commercial features a white man playing different characters to demonstrate how truth can be bent in order to mislead. The character uses his fingers to show inverted commas to indicate that sometimes “fresh fish” is not really fresh.

In all the scenarios the “lying” character is white, except in one scene where his face is blackened and he speaks in a thick African accent.

The ASA, after considering complaints lodged by two people, ordered Cape Town Fish Market to pull the advert.

“It was definitely not meant to cause any offence, but we apologise and accept the ruling,” general manager Davin Berrill said.

He said the advert was part of a campaign which featured 13 different inserts using the same actor.

Withdrawal of the offensive insert would not affect the rest of the campaign, Berrill said.

“We understand the ruling of the ASA and don’t have a problem with it,” he said.

In its ruling dated August 28, the ASA said the complainants found the commercial to be offensive as it portrayed a stereotype that black politicians were liars.

“This technique is known as ‘blackface’, and is an inherently racist form of acting.

“The black character is depicted with derogatory intention, speaks with a thick accent and recalls a stereotypical black dictator.

“To achieve the desired result of showing a corrupt official, there was no need for the man to be made out to be black,” the ASA said, ruling that the advert was discriminatory and offensive. - Cape Times

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