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"Tyrant" German Radio Ad Banned In UK

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the deutschland-uber-alles dept.

Idle 37

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a radio commercial for implying Germans are tyrants. The advertisement for a Reed recruitment website features an angry boss speaking in German. The ASA says: "We noted the ad used a German speaker, rather than someone speaking English, to portray the boss as 'a bit of a tyrant' and the humour derived from a stereotype at the expense of German people. We considered that the portrayal suggested that German people were more likely to be unreasonable or aggressive to others. We concluded that, given the extreme reaction and aggressive tone of the German-speaking boss, the ad reinforced a negative and outdated cultural stereotype of German people as overpowering and tyrannical and therefore the ad had the potential to cause serious offence to some listeners."

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37 comments

This is a freedom of speech violation (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835070)

Radio commercials should only be regulated for false advertising, defamation, copyright infringement and stuff like that. "Causing serious offense to some listeners" is exactly the kind of speech that freedom of speech laws are intended to protect.

Defamation theory (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30835800)

Radio commercials should only be regulated for false advertising, defamation, copyright infringement and stuff like that.

Libel law in England restricts speech more than libel law in the United States. In this case, this banned advert might be defamatory against German people. Let's see: the claim is 1. negative against a group of people, 2. false, and 3. intentional.

Re:Defamation theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30840812)

Wait, I'm not seeing the "2. false" here...can anybody cite an example of a German boss that isn't a tyrant?

Re:Defamation theory (1)

WH44 (1108629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30844578)

My current boss. I live in Germany.

Re:Defamation theory (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868982)

Are you going to shatter another stereotype by claiming that you have a sense of humour?

Thought not.

Re:Defamation theory (1)

WH44 (1108629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869122)

You've got to pay attention to what I post: I live in Germany, I'm not German. However, I will say, while my boss does laugh at the Daily Show, he utterly fails to comprehend Monty Python.

Re:Defamation theory (1)

SakuraDreams (1427009) | more than 4 years ago | (#30876916)

You can't compare the low class humour of The Daily Show to Monty Python skits which require more knowledge and abstract thinking than merely knowing what's going in petty party politics in the US.

Re:Defamation theory (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#30886868)

which require more knowledge and abstract thinking than merely knowing what's going in petty party politics in the US.

I think you need to re-watch those MP skits. Many reference events and people from the UK in that time period. In strong accents, to boot.

Re:Defamation theory (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30868956)

Can't libel a generic group.

Note that group != organisation in this context.

Blood libels, for example (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869466)

Can't libel a generic group.

You can under laws against speech intended to induce hateful violence. Why do they call old unfounded accusations about Jewish people [wikipedia.org] "blood libels" now?

Note that group != organisation in this context.

A country is an organization. It has a board of directors (the legislature), a management (the government), an application process (be born on the soil or naturalized), and a process for promotion to management (elections).

Re:Blood libels, for example (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30869698)

That's an old usage of the word. It isn't the legal definition of libel. Guess which definition the law uses.

As for the rest, mindless pedantry. When you can come up with a precedent whenere a country has brought and won a libel case under English law then come back.

Re:Defamation theory (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30906080)

Not to mention this isn't about the German people, it is about the language. I just love listening to Rammstein, but it still often sounds like "We will invade Poland!" because the German language just have a rough sound to it for non German speakers. Just like a lot of French to me sounds like they are talking sex, simply because of the smooth tones of the language.

So I would say it isn't about the people but the sounds of their language. To me it is just "coarser" sounding than many other European languages. And OT but WTF is with these fucked up comment boxes in idle? Were they high when they designed this thing?

Re:This is a freedom of speech violation (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30836782)

Or more pithily, they responded to insinuations of tyranny with actual tyranny, just in case somebody got the 'wrong idea'.

Re:This is a freedom of speech violation (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30848674)

What about all the references to Belgium people be really bad people in the UK, they say it all fo the time and there is no one complaining....

"Don't Mention the Congo". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30853224)

What about all the references to Belgium people be really bad people in the UK, they say it all fo the time and there is no one complaining....

Perhaps I misunderstood what you're trying to say, but in the UK the Belgians (and Belgium) aren't seen as "bad"... they're stereotyped as being generally uninteresting. I mean, hardly anyone can name a famous Belgian; those who are are usually mistaken for being French.

Which is perhaps unfair. Their late-19th Century King, Leopold II [wikipedia.org] was responsible for atrocities in central Africa on a similar scale to those of Nazi Germany in the 1940s. But although he was very unpopular at the end of his reign, they now prefer to ignore or whitewash his behaviour, attacking those who dare to criticise him. At least the Germans didn't try to do the same with Hitler.

Probably they prefer to be seen as slightly boring people who make chocolates rather than a race once responsible for enslaving, torturing, mutilating or murdering tens of millions of Africans for reasons of pure greed.

Leopold II. There's your famous Belgian.

The original post (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30835096)

Of course the original ASA response read, "Ve noted zat a german akcent ist nicht funny. Zey are not tyrants. You vill do as ve tell you und not run ze ad! Our vord ist final!!!"

Whatever you do (4, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30852192)

Don't mention the war.

Re:Whatever you do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30861722)

DAS FENSTER!!!! DER ZUG!!!!!!

Re:Whatever you do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30862738)

heellloooooo.....I speaka English.....

Re:Whatever you do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30870798)

Jarwohl, mein commandant!

Re:Whatever you do (1)

AmishElvis (1101979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30926980)

Traurig zu sagen, aber Deutsch ist ein unheimlich klingende Sprache! Sie könnten Rezitation eines sonet über Tulpen und kommen aus, als wärst du über jemanden getroffen! Verwendung, die für humoristische Wirkung scheint harmlos auf mich! Hat England haben jede Art der freien Rede könnte dies durch Gesetz geschützt werden!

In Cuba (2, Funny)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30853098)

While at an all-inclusive resort in Cuba, our vacationing Teutonic friends arrived at dinner in virtual lock-step precisely at 6:00 PM. Orders were barked. The group split into sub-groups, some of whom reconnoitred the dining hall, spread out and 'claimed' tables. The rest proceeded to elbow their way to the front of every line, heap their plates with EVERYTHING and marched off leaving us in a state of shock and awe while the serving staff frantically tried to re-populate the buffet.

But, apart from that, I think that the Brits are out of line with this ad.

Re:In Cuba (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30871082)

Of course that was only possible because there were no friendly, polite, unobtrusive, and culturally aware and respectful American tourists there.

Re:In Cuba (1)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 3 years ago | (#30891576)

I respecfully take offence to the fact that you ommitted 'considerate' and 'affable' in your description of our American Cousins.

So... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30855864)

"the ad reinforced a negative and outdated cultural stereotype of German people".
So it would have been alright if it were done many years ago when they were tyrannical?

Germans are not the problem (1)

Leon Buijs (545859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30910168)

If you think Germans are a pain, wait until you share a ski resort with a group of East-Europeans. Seriously, ask anybody who's been to Austria.

Re:Germans are not the problem (1)

Zagnar (722415) | more than 4 years ago | (#30944248)

As an American, I've visited only two countries, those closest to me. I've found that people as a whole are mostly decent, no matter their country. Though those in the tourism industry often are unpleasant, while wearing masks of politeness.
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