Online betting site Paddy Power were told to pull down an advert of theirs which was offering a ‘money back special’ if the murder-accused Oscar Pistorius is acquitted.
The advert, which featured the head of the double amputee Pistorius on top of an Oscar award statue, and announcing “It’s Oscar Time” sparked a flurry of protests about it being in bad taste.
The advert will now be removed after the Advertising Standards Authority ruled on the case, siding with the public’s distaste. The ASA announced that the advertisement would be taken down immediately, but were set to investigate further as to whether or not it breached advertising regulations. Adverts are generally only even taken down after an investigation.
Pistorius, 27, is on trial for the murder of his former girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at their home in South Africa last year.
The ASA, in a statement said: “On the back of an unprecedented number of complaints, we are investigating whether the ad is offensive for trivialising the issues surrounding a murder trial, the death of a woman and disability; we are also challenging whether, in doing so, it brings the good reputation of advertising generally into dispute.
It continued: “We consider the ad may be seriously prejudicial to the general public on the ground of the likely further serious and/or widespread offence it may cause.
“We are also concerned that the good reputation of the advertising industry may be further damaged by continued publication of this ad.”
An online petition, created by a former domestic violence victim Jean Hatchet, was launched, calling on Paddy Power chief Patrick Kennedy to ban the advert. The petition quickly gained momentum and it received over 120,000 signatures, putting more pressure on the ASA to act.