Nasty men's rights ad banned

Britain's Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints leveled against a men's rights group's controversial ad campaign.

Fathers4Justice's ad depicted a crying baby, his body emblazoned with perjoratives such as "pig" and "rapist", with text attacking Mumsnet, a popular online hangout for mothers of young children. According to Fathers4Justice, Mumsnet presided over an anti-male hate campaign as objectionable as homophobia and racism.

"Fathers4Justice are writing to all advertisers this Mother's Day to inform them that the Mumsnet web site carries abusive and distressing anti-male content which promotes gender hatred against men and boys," said the ad's text. "We believe that the general sexist labelling of men and boys as 'rapists', 'paedophiles' and 'wife beaters' is as unacceptable and offensive as racism and homophobia. Fathers4Justice are asking advertisers to suspend their advertising on Mumsnet until founder Justine Roberts adopts a zero tolerance policy to gender hatred. Promote a message of love, not hate this Mother's Day. Join our boycott of Mumsnet."

The ad was part of a series directed at businesses that Fathers4Justice accuses of oppressing men.

In its ruling, however, the ASA found that the claims were not substantiated, because the remarks were made not by the site's editors but by forum participants and commenters.

"F4J had not sent us anything to suggest that Mumsnet endorsed any of the views expressed on its web forums or any editorial content," wrote the ASA, which ordered F4J not to run the ad again or to imply that "forum postings on Mumsnet's website indicated endorsement or support from the website itself."

The ASA dismissed complaints about the photoshopped image itself, however, describing it as a contextually clear representation of unfair labeling.


  1. It looks like the ASA managed to do the right thing, somewhat to my surprise:

    They correctly noted that comments are made by posters, rather than Official Statements of The Management and they didn’t cave on the potentially-hot-button sharpied baby…

  2. Ahhh, men’s rights.

    Where guys join together to complain about their restraining orders.

    1. And the best way to get rid of that restraining order is to get a sharpie and a baby and act as crazy as possible.

    1. They manage to spoil it by insinuating that the crackdown is somehow aimed at them, rather than at everybody who might offend The Corporate Sponsors; but the Olympics, and London’s horribly supine reaction to the IOC, has given them one thing to be unequivocally right about…

      Many of their more recent posters note that their right to protest in public about their grievances has been rather roughly treated by the flurry of enabling legislation cravenly passed to ensure a tranquil and profitable Olympics. They could be the British Union of Fascists, and they’d still be correct about how loathsome that development is.

  3. ok- I know Boing Boing isn’t exactly moderated for this, but, as a single father, I’m finding the comments on this thread already massively offensive. I have been called every name mentioned here, and all the things in the ad, and all because my ex wife didn’t get custody, mostly due to her prison conviction. I could protest that I’m not a deadbeat, I never beat my wife, I never forced sex with anyone, and I take care of my son, but I know where that protest ends- it’s like feeding trolls. You get into it, you lose. So, I’m just going to ask, please, can there be a little consideration that perhaps mothers are humans, subject to as many character faults as fathers can be, so maybe, just maybe they can be wrong as well. 

    1.  Good point. I’m sorry that you have to deal with that. There can be some pretty heavy attitudes against men as well, but most of the groups that are really “fighting” them are really only adding to the problem.

    2. And you appear to have responded to the situation in a sane, mature, articulate fashion.  These gentlemen didn’t.  I would hope that you wouldn’t want to identify yourself with them.

  4. The real tragedy is that male people are victims of patriarchy, too. I for one am disgusted to live in a society that has told me for 20 years and will tell me for another 60- years that I have rights to other peoples’ bodies, that I am inherently better and deserve more, but can only access this through taking active part in maintaining this hierarchy through violence of one sort or another. I feel like I have the right to live without that. Where’s my men’s rights group?

  5. Anyone who has followed the “men’s rights movement” has noticed that they take any criticism of any man as criticism of all men and the statement of the statistical likelihood of men committing certain crimes as vilifying all men. The prime example of this is rape, the fact that a terrifyingly large number of women are raped by men is taken to be proof that all men are presumed to be rapists. No one is surprised that people working convenience stores are suspicious of folks coming in late at night, they don’t know who might be a robber, but women being wary of strange men in secluded or empty areas are labeling all men as potential rapists instead of just being cautious in a vulnerable location. Chances are this was the type of discussion going on on Mumsnet surrounding protecting their children (male and female) and not actual labeling of all men as evil.

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