A Queensland campervan company famous for spray painting its vans with racist and misogynistic slogans has decided to give slandering people of short stature a fly.
In July 2014, Wicked – which is based in Brisbane – drew national media attention for a series of misogynistic slogans on its vans. A petition attracted over 100,000 signatures and included protests in federal parliament. The company apologised, and committed to removing the offensive slogans, but hasn’t done so.
Over the weekend, a Wicked Camper was photographed in northern NSW with a slogan targeting people of small stature. It was photographed by John Phillips, near Ballina.
“I’ve had it up to here with midgets,” the slogan reads, and includes a line just above the rear bumper bar of the car.
The term ‘midget’ is considered highly offensive by people born with Achondroplasia, a genetic condition that affects about 1 in every 40,000 live births world wide.
Wicked Campers has amassed an extraordinary catalogue of complaints for offensive messages, over almost a decade.
In 2008, the Advertising Standards Bureau upheld a complaint over a van featuring the phrase ‘Lick my c*nt’ written in Japanese. The same year it received a complaint over a van called ‘Random Breast Testing’ which featured multiple female breasts painted over the chassis.
Since then, the company has been the subject of almost 100 further complaints – it culminated in a storm of publicity in 2014, followed by a promise to remove the offensive slogans.
To this day, the ASA continues to receive complaints about crude slogans targeting women and minority groups – seven complaints, including three complaints on March 23 about three different vans, have already been received this year.
One van featured the phrase: “Bukkake ruined my carpet!” Bukkake is the act of repeated ejaculation on a single female by multiple males.
A second van had the message: “If a dog smells you’re arse, you’re probably a bitch!” The complainant noted Wicked Campers “spelt it wrong too”.
On March 9, the ASA received the following complaint: “A winking Lego man with his head near a Lego woman’s vagina. The slogan was she wants my brick. The Lego woman has her knickers mid thigh and a bra on. The back of the van says “virginity is curable”. The drivers side of the van has the winking Lego man lying on top of the Lego woman and the writing on the door says ‘legover’”.
In February, the ASA received a complaint from a citizen over a van with the phrase, “Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere”.
The same day, it also received a complaint about this phrase: “Hurricanes are like women. When they come, they’re wet and wild, and when they leave, they take your house and car.”
The latest offensive slogan about ‘midgets’ was brought to the attention of Dwarfism Awareness Australia.
Yarraka Bayles is the mother of Quaden Bayles, a Murri boy from Queensland born with Achondroplasia.
Ms Bayles, also with Dwarfism Awareness Australia, said her group would be seeking legal advice about a possible action in the Human Rights Commission against Wicked Campers.
“In this day and age this sort of conduct by an individual is unacceptable, let alone by a well-known international business,” Ms Bayles said.
“I’m sure they know the word midget is offensive. And they certainly know their comments about race and women are offensive.
“They obviously haven’t learned their lesson. Wicked Campers seem to think they can operate anyway they see fit, and target people to demean them and ridicule them.
“We’ll be seeking legal advice this week about a possible action against them.”
Graffiti is illegal in Australia, even if you have permission of the owner, if it is “rude, abusive, distasteful or disrespectful”.
New Matilda is seeking comment from Wicked Campers.
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