AN IRISH TRANSGENDER support group has today called on bookmaker Paddy Power to withdraw a video being used to adverstise Cheltenham Ladies Day, describing it as offensive.
The Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) said the ad, which was broadcast on SkySports in Ireland and the UK last weekend, was “deeply transphobic”.
The advert begins with a reference to a Facebook comment on Paddy Power’s page, in which a user writes: “Can’t wait to see some beauties at Cheltenham Ladies Day”.
A voiceover then announces that Paddy Power aims to make this year’s event “even more exciting by sending in some beautiful transgendered ladies”. A series of different women are then shown, and racegoers are invited to “spot the stallions from the mares”.
TENI National Development Worker Vanessa Lacey said that the advert was making people feel “mocked and ridiculed (and) deeply hurt.”
“The situation in Ireland is that transgender people face a huge amount of marginalisation,” said TENI Director Broden Giambrone. “The longer that ad stays up, the longer it is causing harm. We want for Paddy Power to do the right thing and remove the ad and issue an apology.”
‘No wish to cause offence’
Speaking to the TheJournal.ie, head of communications at the company, Paddy Power, said he was “surprised by the strong reaction” and insisted that the it “genuinely did not wish to cause offence”.
Power pointed out that several members of the transgendered community in the UK had participated in the making of the ad, and that it had also been cleared by the country’s television adverstising standards NGO, Clearclast, before being broadcast.
He explained that the ad was part of the bookmakers’ new We Hear You campaign – which aims to show more interaction with social media users. Although admitting that response to the ad had been “mixed”, Power said that it was intended to be “a bit of mild mannered fun”.
He rejected the suggestion that the ad mocked transgender women, saying it “depicted transgender women as beautiful” and was making the point that you “wouldn’t be able to tell the difference”.
Power said there were no plans to withdraw the advert.
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