A new ad campaign by a restaurant in Tyneside, England, is leaving a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths — and no one’s more so than Victoria Beckham. The fashion designer is even considering legal action over Sidhu Golden Fish and Chips’ insensitive ploy targeting (read: body-shaming) her.
The restaurant’s ad, which displays prominently on their delivery vans, features a severely gaunt caricature of Beckham in a bikini and sash that reads “anorexic fashion icon.” The ad plugs its “Victoria Beckham Thin Crust,” so called because it’s only “2 mm thin.”
— Nathan Lee (@NathanLeeTV) August 8, 2017
While it’s hard to even believe anyone would greenlight such a thoughtless campaign, someone in Sidhu’s camp certainly did. And in doing so, they succeeded in putting off countless people by targeting Beckham and by making light of a very serious eating disorder (which there is no evidence Beckham suffers from).
All this to sell a few pizzas? Poor form, Sidhu’s. Poor form.
“It is highly inappropriate to trivialize such a disorder, and defamatory to be so thoughtless with a person’s reputation in this way, therefore we are seeking legal advice,” a spokesperson for Beckham told Fox News.
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When the ad began to go viral, the restaurant unsurprisingly began to catch some flak from people upset on behalf of Beckham and just generally repulsed by the concept of the ill-conceived campaign. The deluge of attention ultimately prompted the restaurant to address the debacle on their Facebook page.
“I as the manager on the behalf of all our staff and owners would like to state we recognize how serious eating disorders are and would never make light the seriousness of people with eating disorders,” Sidhu’s manager began the first reaction post on their Facebook page. “We are not a fly by night business trying to make a quick buck. Anorexia and any mental illness are very serious.”
A few hours later, they followed up with a photo of a blank van window, proclaiming, “It’s gone! As of 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2017, we have had no official complaint from Mrs. Beckham or her legal team.”
That’s an OK start, right? Sure… but there’s more.
“No complaint has been made to us about the advert on our van, but with the media hype the whole account has left our staff dejected… it’s a sad state of affairs when in England 2017 an innocent joke is twisted and turned into an opportunity by some to cause distress.”
They further stated that the ad “was not produced by us, the image was supplied and is readily available on Google images.” They additionally requested no media organizations contact them, as the ordeal has been “most testing for our great staff who have been dragged through this circus through no fault of their own.”
Unfortunately, the latter shows a disconnect between the severity of their actions and their interpretation of them (i.e., an “innocent joke”). By shifting the blame to the media and painting themselves as the victims, the restaurant isn’t displaying any authentic accountability for their truly tasteless actions.