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  • A radio listener complained that a Netflorist commercial "portrays two white people fetishizing black male genitalia".
  • In the ad, a Netflorist customer describes her husband as "half English and half Zulu," with the latter "half" specifically situated "below the belt".
  • The ad regulator said it was acceptable "fodder for humour".

A racy Netflorist radio ad has come under the scrutiny of the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) after a listener complained about it.

Phil Manners complained to the ARB that the commercial "is gross in that it portrays two white people fetishizing black male genitalia on public radio". 

Script of the Netflorist radio ad

Caller: “I am looking for something for our anniversary.”

Radio host: “Tell me more about hubby first.”

Caller: “Well, he is half English and half Zulu.”

Radio host: “Hm, Zulu. Which half?

Caller (chuckling): “Harold, below the belt.”

Radio host: “Hm, lucky girl, Jane. Why not spoil him with a Moon and Back Chock Crate personalised with his name and a variety of delicious choccies. Because something tells me he’s got a thing for Top-Deck”. (Caller is heard chuckling again) “So, there you have it. There is no reason for you to be a plain Jane. "

In its ruling, the ARB said the ad has a clear sexual innuendo. A minority of the board found that the "commercial does indeed fetishize black male genitalia and is therefore offensive".

However, the majority ruled against the complaint. They said it was unclear whether the complainant was  upset by the objectification of black men or the implication that black men have larger genitalia. 

They found that, given that the race of the characters wasn't stipulated, the complainant just assumed they were white.  "The dialogue and jokes that are used are not dependent on them being white, and the humour would work regardless of the race of these two characters." 

Also, they didn't agree that the ad was guilty of fetishism. "The use of a humorous SA stereotype to try to achieve a funny commercial doesn't amount to an unacceptable 'fetishizing'."

The ad would only have been unacceptable if it degraded or undermined black men, the ARB said.

"There are certain stereotypes that can never be joked about; but there are others that form acceptable fodder for humour."

For more go to Business Insider South Africa.

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