Irish Mobile Company Puts Out Transphobic Ad And Lukewarm Apology
Data plans are frustrating enough without the transphobia.
— socmot (@socmot) July 15, 2015
Mobile company Three Ireland recently put out an campaign to advertise their data plan. When many people pointed out that the line “It turned out he was a she” was incredibly transphobic, Three Ireland tweeted the following to several Twitter users:
We’re sorry for any offence this caused, it was not our intention. This is part of a wider ad campaign. The wider campaign gives examples of when you can often miss the best bits of TV/films while you’re streaming. We hope this explains the concept and shows that no offence was intended at all
They also pointed out that another ad in the campaign read “Sorry Vodafone customers, Ireland Scored the winning try after you’d used all your data.”
Although Three Ireland tweeted several of these apologies, it’s not a very good one. Providing the context and intention behind the campaign doesn’t suddenly make it alright since it still defends an offensive joke. “He was a she” reads like someone’s gender identity is a joke, and perpetuates the idea that transgender people are liars or objects of ridicule to those seeing the ad, with or without the context of the wider campaign. And the fact that you’re likely referencing a movie that was in and of itself problematic and transphobic in your campaign doesn’t make it better. Sorry, but intent doesn’t matter and it doesn’t make you less accountable. Three Ireland eventually made the decision to take down the ad.
@TENI_Tweets Hi, we reviewed the feedback and decided this ad will be removed, It wasn’t our intention to cause offence, again we apologise.
— Three Ireland Online (@ThreeCare) July 15, 2015
Many news articles have observed that Three’s gross ads came out the same time as the Gender Recognition Bill, which legally recognizes adults by their preferred gender has passed. Maybe Three’s marketing team should have put some more thought into this by paying attention to the news. So, on a brighter note, yay for the Gender Recognition Bill! (via email tip)
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