The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint brought by the Evangelical Alliance over a betting advert shown in the City A. M. free newspaper.
During the World Cup, gambling shop Sporting Index took out advertisements showing the Christ the Redeemer statue — the iconic figure that overlooks Rio de Janeiro in Brazil — drinking and smiling, with a bikini-clad model in his arms.
In its complaint to the ASA, the Evangelical Alliance had claimed that it was likely to cause offence, not just to the largely Catholic population of Brazil, but to all Christians.
After examining the adverts, the ASA stated that it found the complaints to have merit, also pointing out that the advert, by featuring alcohol in a gambling advert, was in breach of its code.
The ASA said the image was ‘likely to cause serious or widespread offence’. In a statement following the announcement, the Evangelical Alliance — one of 25 complainants to the ASA — welcomed the ASA’s decision.
Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy for the Evangelical Alliance, said, The expressions of incredulity from City A. M. and Sporting Index at the complaints illustrate a patent failure to grasp why such mockery and disfigurement of the person of Christ should be deemed offensive at all. Such religious illiteracy and lack of respect for faith communities in the UK is concerning’.