Advertisement of man eating bat sandwich being investigated in Australia

WION Web Team
Sydney, Australia Published: Jan 05, 2021, 12:56 PM(IST)

Advertisement of a man eating a bat sandwich [Image: Boating Camping Fishing store] Photograph:( Others )

Story highlights

The advertisement shows footage of an Australian family fishing and camping and a coronavirus joke is made about eating a bat sandwich, censored on television

An Australian advertisement of a man-eating a bat sandwich is being investigated by its advertising watchdog.

The advertisement shows footage of an Australian family fishing and camping and a coronavirus joke is made about eating a bat sandwich, censored on television.

The joke refers to the belief that the coronavirus pandemic originated from China due to the consumption of bats as a delicacy, and jumping to humans in a wet market at Wuhan in late 2019.

Also read: Wuhan virology institute had three live bat coronaviruses: Chinese state media

Many viewers have asked watchdog Ad Standards to ban the commercial made by Australian campaign retailer Boating Camping Fishing store (BCF). 

Ad Standards said several complaints were lodged against the advertisement which has already received over 25,000 views on YouTube.

A spokesman of the watchdog said, "Ad Standards has received a number of complaints about the BCF summer campaign commercial and is in the process of assessing these complaints to see if they raise an issue."

It also issued an explanation saying its intention was not to joke about the pandemic in its lighthearted commercial.

"Of course we understand the severity of the pandemic and spread of Covid-19 but it is clear that this ad is framed in the same spirit."

However, the Australian outdoor equipment retailer is no stranger to the advertising watchdog, making the list of most complained about advertisements in 2018 and 2016.

Interestingly, out of the 3400 complaints received by Ad Standards only 18 per cent of the cases upheld.

Strained relations

Experts believe that relations between Australia and China have deteriorated last year to their worst in the decade.

Australia’s ties with top trade partner China soured in 2018 when it became the first country to publicly ban China’s Huawei from its 5G network, and worsened after Canberra called for an enquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.

Tit-for-tat diplomatic reprisals have since followed, including raids on the homes of Chinese journalists in Australia, evacuation of some Australian journalists from China and a raft of trade measures imposed by China on Australian exports.

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