Last night, ANZ, the Principle Partner of Mardi Gras this year, released an advertisement where queer people respond to “what’s your name?” with slurs that have been used against them.
The audience sits through a minute of uncensored queerphobic slurs, including f*ggot, d*ke, and tr*nny, before the ad ends with the message “homophobic slurs are posted more than 43 times a minute. Stop the hate. We need more #lovespeech.”
People aren’t entirely sure what to make of the ad. Sally Rugg, director of Change.org and marriage equality campaigner, called out ANZ on Twitter and the bank responded, but not very well.
@sallyrugg Hi Sally, we are trying to demonstrate the impact these words can have so that people might stop using them, or call them out as hurtful when witnessed. Our #LoveSpeech campaign is designed to create awareness, understanding and unity👬♥️
— ANZ Australia (@ANZ_AU) February 19, 2020
They’ve also released a Chrome extension called The Hurt Blocker, which identifies queerphobic words on online and replaces them with emojis.
So slurs are bad, but it’s okay for your ad to say them?
Needless to say, ANZ is getting absolutely SLAMMED online and to be fair, I have no idea how they didn’t see this coming.
Thrilled to see ANZ have solved homophobia in Australia via a… *checks notes*… Google Chrome Plugin that turns bad words into rainbow emojis.
— Mitch Feltscheer (@mitchfel) February 19, 2020
the best thing about the ANZ rainbow washing shit is you don’t even need to remember specific examples where they fucked people over! it’s a given that a major bank in australia has! at a tremendous scale! you can just google “ANZ royal commission” for a list of examples!
— thomas violence (@thomas_violence) February 20, 2020
There’s also been reports that community members warned ANZ that the ad wasn’t a good idea. An anonymous person who received the casting call rejected it, and sent the bank a lengthy email explaining their concerns.
— Nic Holas (@nicheholas) February 20, 2020
Some are suggesting that ANZ re-release the ad and censor the slurs, so the audience still understands the message. People are worried that people who’ve had that language used to abuse them could find the ad quite distressing, especially older generations.
There is power in reclaiming language, there’s no denying that. But there’s something off-putting about one of the big four banks doing it. They’re a corporation co-opting language that has never been used against them. You know, because they’re a bank.
Corporations have a long history of pinkwashing and using other people’s stories for their own gain. ANZ doesn’t really care about LGBTQ+ people, they’re only doing it for their brand. If homosexuality was illegal, I can guarantee that they wouldn’t stick their necks out for us.
the objectives of social justice movements — liberation and flourishing for all people — are directly incompatible with the existence of institutions like ANZ. ANZ fucking hates you. it would kill you and dump your body in the river for a dollar. do not be fooled
— Eleanor Robertson (@marrowing) February 20, 2020
Image Sources: Twitter, ANZ