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.