News | UPDATE: Leeds restaurant's ad faces backlash

A Leeds restaurant has been forced to remove its advert from a Hyde Park billboard after coming under fire for mocking domestic abuse charities.

Following mounting pressure on social media and a number of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Red’s True BBQ concealed their advert which was seen to poke fun at vegetarians.

This week marks National Vegetarian Week, an annual initiative to encourage the public to cook vegetarian meals.

In a statement released yesterday the company said:

“We wanted to do this primarily to entertain our carnivorous customer base, giving vegetarians a playful poke, rattle the easily offended and get a reaction. Mission accomplished.”

The company apologised for any offence caused, adding:

“We respect vegetarianism as a life choice – honestly, do what you want to do – whether it’s for religious reasons, animal welfare concerns or just because you don’t like meat – whatever your reasons.”

The advertising campaign has faced a strong backlash on Twitter, although some students said they found the advert humourous.


Femsoc member Freya Govus, said: “Red’s new advertising campaign not only undermines the hard work of domestic abuse charities, but the experiences of those who use them, too.”

Another student, Dominic Hunt,  said: “I’m vegetarian myself and thought it was pretty funny. People are being far too sensitive about it. Lighten up.”

James Douglas, co-founder of Red’s, said: “This is absolutely not about parodying or making fun of any serious issues or worthwhile community bodies.”

They added: “This is firmly a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek campaign about offering to convert vegetarians who could be persuaded to try the delights of low and slow smoked American barbecue. That’s why we’ve made it quite clear that the advice line is from a made up Citizens Responsible Advice Partnership, who’s logo is a bull. The images we’ve used in the campaign, both male and female, depict sad vegetarians who are missing out on eating barbecue food.

“As ever, we listen to all feedback, both good and bad, and will continue to do so.”

More to follow.

Photo: Rehema Figueiredo

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