Sat, Mar 09, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Australia targets ‘misogynistic’ van leasing company

AFP, SYDNEY

The Australian government yesterday stepped up its campaign against a “misogynistic” camper van firm, branding its notorious fleet of graffiti-clad vehicles vulgar and offensive.

Officials choose International Women’s Day to launch the tirade against Wicked Campers, a van hire firm whose spray-painted slogans have long been a source of outrage on Australian roads.

“We have no tolerance for sexist, misogynistic and offensive slogans on camper vans, or those displayed anywhere else for that matter, no matter how hard some try to justify their existence,” Australian Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer said in a statement.

The hire firm, popular with backpackers, has long come under fire from politicians and concerned parents, and has been banned or discouraged from festivals.

The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau has for years received complaints about slogans spray-painted on Wicked Campers vehicles.

In January, the bureau found the company breached its code of ethics with an obscene slogan inviting people to masturbate and in 2014 the firm was forced to apologize after an online petition drew more than 100,000 signatures protesting a coarse van slogan regarding “princesses.”

In 2008, Wicked Campers was subject to criticism over a xenophobic slogan concerning Japan’s tradition of whale hunting.

The Australian government said that it would coordinate a response with state authorities to remove a loophole that allowed the firm to change its vehicle registration to a different state once a complaint had been lodged.

“These vehicles are offensive and belong in a junkyard, not on Australian roads,” Australian Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said. “By choosing to avoid these vehicles, you’re also choosing to ensure parents or grandparents won’t have to explain the vile meaning of these disgusting signs or images to their children or grandchildren while driving on our roads.”

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