Taking a serious view of Lord Ganesha’s image being used to promote meat in the country, the advertising watchdog of Australia ruled that the controversial advertisement has violated the country’s advertisement standard code.
The board said that featuring Lord Ganesha and other divinities promoting consumption of lamb meat violated the country’s advertising standard code.
According to the latest decision, the board noted, “Lord Ganesha was a deity that signified perfection so to criticise his appearance would be likely to be seen as ridiculing the Hindu religion and by extension some followers of that faith.”
The advertisement was released in September by the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), enraged members of Hindu community and overseas and triggered widespread protests from the community.
Reacting to the ASB’s latest decision, Melbourne-based Hindu community member Karthik Arsu said, “This is a Great Victory for the entire Hindu Community. The community got united and each and every one contributed to fight against a giant like Meat & Livestock Australia, we lost in the complaint process, but we stood together and persisted,”
“So happy to receive this good news, still not sure how it will transpire in getting that derogatory advertisement removed from online platforms, but the whole community is feeling ecstatic!,” he said.
“The decision reinforces the belief that no one can denigrate a community in Australia on the basis of religion, colour or the size of the community!,” he added.
According to Jay Shah of Overseas Friends of Bharatiya Janata Party (OFBJP), Australia “the advertisement was very hurtful and I am happy that ASB accepted my review plea and gave a decision in support of Hindu community.”
Members of the Hindu community of Australia filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) at that time claiming it had hurt their religious sentiments and demanded a ban on the campaign.
Earlier, the ASB dismissed complaints that the advertisement breached any code saying that Lord Ganesha was depicted positively and that the intent was to be inclusive.
Besides Lord Ganesha, other divinities including Jesus, Buddha, Thor and Zeus have been shown sitting around a dining table tucking into lamb at a barbecue in the ad.
The ad says “to lamb – the meat we can all eat”. Reacting to it, Nitin Vashisht said the Ganesha ad is highly ‘insensitive’.
“He is shown as … Eating lamb and looking for a new marketing strategy for himself. [That] is really very insensitive to the community”, Vashisht was quoted as saying.
People have also reacted angrily to the ad on social media.