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Transgender ad complaints against bookmaker Paddy Power upheld

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Lucy Miller
WVoN co-editor 

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has upheld complaints that a TV advert for  betting company Paddy Power featuring ‘transgender ladies’ was offensive.

The advert, shown in February before the Cheltenham Festival, received 470 complaints after telling viewers “that we’ree going to make Ladies Day even more exciting by sending in some beautiful transgendered ladies! Spot the stallions from the mares!”.

The ad then presented a series of shots of people at the event while the voice-over attempted to guess their gender.

Paddy Power said it was ‘saddened’ by the decision, and that it had consulted the Beaumont Society, a leading transgender organisation, about the advert.

The Society, however, said that it had not been shown the final advert, and was not happy with the use of the terms ‘stallion’ and ‘mare’.

The ASA concluded that the advert encouraged discriminatory behaviour towards the transgender community.

It said: “We considered that the ad trivialised a highly complex issue and depicted a number of common negative stereotypes about trans people.

“We considered that by suggesting that trans women would look like men in drag, and that their gender could be speculated on as part of a game, the ad irresponsibly reinforced those negative stereotypes.

“And, particularly by framing the game in a way that involved a member of the public who had commented on Paddy Power’s Facebook page, the ad condoned and encouraged harmful discriminatory behaviour and treatment.”

The advert can no longer be shown in its current form, although it remains on Paddy Power’s YouTube channel.

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