Backlash against ANZ’s confronting Mardi Gras campaign


anz mardi gras words do hurt love speech campaign

LGBTIQ Australians have some thoughts about a new ANZ campaign calling out homophobic slurs ahead of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

ANZ, a Mardi Gras sponsor, released new research showing 80% of Australians had experienced anti-LGBTIQ language in the previous year.

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But ANZ found only 41 percent of ‘straight’ Australians “believe that hurtful, homophobic or transphobic language towards the LGBTIQ+ community is a major issue today”.

As part of its “Love Speech” campaign, the bank also released a video starring several young LGBTIQ people delivering homophobic and transphobic slurs to camera.

To promote the campaign, ANZ enlisted author Benjamin Law, AFLW star Moana Hope, and trans advocate Georgie Stone as spokespeople.

ANZ also released a web browser plugin named “the Hurt Blocker” to replace “hurtful” language online with “celebratory emojis”.

Campaign video under fire for slurs

However ANZ has come under fire for the video, which lacks a content warning. Many in the LGBTIQ community are concerned it could be harmful.

Advocate Sally Rugg queried why the video couldn’t just include the “love speech”, instead of uncensored slurs.

“Absolutely zero shade to the community members featured in the ANZ ad – all power to them – but oooft,” she tweeted.

“Feels pretty gross and a bit hurtful, to me, watching an ad for a bank using the uncensored words f*ggot, d*ke, tr*nny in the Newsfeed.

“The first and second rule of campaign messaging is ‘don’t repeat your opponent’s language’ and ‘don’t campaign in your opponents frame’.

“@ANZ_AU you may consider this advice, or at a minimum, a recut with the slurs implied but censored.”

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ANZ considered ‘a range of community views’

Advocate for people living with HIV Nic Holas told 10 Daily the video was “not helpful”.

“It’s very difficult to watch those young queer people repeat incredibly hurtful slurs, without warning,” he said.

“As a campaigner, it’s just bad. Really ineffective, shock tactic stuff dressed up as a corporation caring about LGBTQ people.

“When non-experts with lots of cash think they can solve the problem of hate speech, you end up with ham-fisted, potentially harmful stuff like this.”

However, ANZ’s official Twitter account has been replying to social media comments amid the backlash.

“We’re trying to demonstrate the impact these words can have so that people might stop using them, or call them out as hurtful when witnessed,” they wrote.

“We considered a range of community views and sought necessary classifications and ratings before sharing online.”

Warning: distressing language

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