Two poster adverts for the movie Shoot ‘Em Up have been banned in the UK amid fears they could “glorify or glamorise” the use of guns. The ban came after the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) received 55 complaints about the posters.
The posters, pictured above, feature actors Paul Giamatti and Clive Owen holding guns and pointing them out towards the viewers. The complaints ranged from claims they were irresponsible, claims they were offensive and insensitive towards families affected by gun crime, in particular the family of Rhys Jones, and three people even suggested the posters might distress young children.
The ASA upheld the complaints and immediately banned the posters saying:
“We acknowledge that the taglines ‘Just another family man making a living’ and ‘I’m a British nanny and I’m dangerous’ gave an ironic effect. We were nevertheless mindful of the growing levels of public concern about the use and threatened use of guns.”
“We concluded that, when taken together, the image and text in [the poster showing Owen with a gun by his side] would be seen by most people merely to reflect the content of the film and was unlikely to be seen to glamorise or glorify real gun crime.”
“However, we considered that the prominence of the gun in [the poster showing Giamatti holding a gun and a phone] and the action shot and the actor’s expression in [the poster showing Owen aiming two handguns] suggested a direct aggression that could be seen to glamorise the use of guns and violence.”
I can see why the adverts were banned, especially in the UK where gun and gang culture are definitely on the rise, but to act after just 55 complaints seems a bit potty to me. Millions of people must have seen the ads, yet only 55 of them were shocked or outraged enough to phone in and complain. Surely the majority should rule, and that means all of those people who weren’t bothered by the adverts.