- Travellers likened the word ‘Gypsier’ to terms deemed racist and abusive
- Gypsy men claim they are portrayed in the show as ‘menacing’
Last updated at 11:45 AM on 16th February 2012
Channel 4 has been accused of racism over its posters advertising its latest Big Fat Gypsy Wedding series.
Adverts used to promote the show have been criticised for using the words: ‘Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier’
in large letters across images of travellers, including one of young gypsy girls.
But the London Travellers’ Unit and two members of the London Assembly have likened the word ‘gypsier’ to other terms deemed racist and abusive and have written to Channel 4 to complain.
Giant posters promoting the Channel 4 TV series Big Fat Gypsy Wedding have sparked street protests. Christine Crawley and Geraldine Lindsay help to lead the Hackney protest
The posters have appeared all over the
country on billboards over the past few weeks in the run up to the
launch of the six-part series.
It has sparked outrage among the
traveller community in Hackney, in East London, who even staged a street
protest in opposition.
John Biggs is one of the members upset by the posters. He said: ‘Channel 4 should show greater
respect and restraint.’
A Channel 4 poster advertising the new series but travellers have taken issue with the word ‘Gypsier’ and have called for the adverts to be removed
Travellers say the latest series portrays young gypsy men as ‘menacing’ and have complained to Channel 4
He wrote to the broadcaster with
Jennette Arnold, who is also a member of the assembly, saying the adverts
were ‘totally inappropriate, offensive and disrespectful’ and raised concerns that they would cause more ‘ill feeling and discrimination’.
Meanwhile, the London Travellers’ Unit questioned whether the broadcaster would consider it appropriate to use words and phrases like
‘Blacker’ or ‘more Asian’ to describe other ethnic groups, the Daily
The unit has called on Channel 4 to remove the posters and apologise.
Tricky situation: Dolores found it difficult to leave the house in her huge white wedding dress
Bigger and better: The fourth series of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings kicked off by following young bride Dolores (L)
Complaints have also been lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority.
Meanwhile, travellers said they have been upset by the show and have found it ‘insulting and degrading’.
The documentary makers have also been accused of portraying traveller men as ‘menacing’.
It follows the conviction last month of the cousin of Big Fat Gypsy star Paddy Doherty.
Johnny Joyce, 21, bit off the ear of the Celebrity Big Brother winner in a bare-knuckle street brawl in Manchester.
The fight between Joyce and 52-year-old Doherty was filmed on a mobile phone and loaded to YouTube, showing the blood-splattered reality TV star grappling with his cousin in front of rush-hour traffic.
Upstaging the bride: Two bridesmaids pictured in their extravagant frocks in this week’s show
The popular documentary returned to screens on Tuesday with 4.8million viewers and picked up a further 858,000 on its time-shift channel, taking its combined total to 5.7million.
It follows young gypsy couples in the run-up to their weddings and is notable for showcasing brides’ extraordinarily extravagant wedding dresses and the provocative outfits of their teenage wedding guests.
Tuesday’s show followed Irish traveller Dolores in the run-up to her wedding day. The design of her gown was described as the most
‘outrageous design yet’ by Thelma Madine – the dressmaker who has
featured on the show since the beginning.
This week’s programme also featured teenage girls competing in skimpy outfits in a beauty contest
The show also showed teenage traveller girls competing in a beauty contest.
The programme’s aim is to promote another side to travellers in Britain and the Republic of Ireland who claim they are victims of prejudice.
Channel 4 told the newspaper ‘gypsier’ reflected the ‘greater access and insight’ into the gypsy communities and said the words were not used in a negative context.
The spokesman said the advertising campaign was designed to build on the celebratory nature of the first series.
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Race Relations Case Law recognises English Romany Gypsies, and Irish Travellers as ethnic minorities.
For anyone that might be having trouble with this.
- Kate, London, 16/2/2012 9:30 I think its you who needs to brush up on your history. Cromwell was responsible for many outrages but the creation of travellers is not one of them. There is evidence of these types of nomadic groups of people going back to the 5th century and the term ‘tinker’ is thought to originate in the 12th century to describe to a nomadic community with their own customs and language, yet who are essentially from the original ethnically Irish population group. No one knows where todays travellers originate from but it safe to say they were here before Cromwell. There are 20,000 travellers living in Ireland according to recent census figures which is a small percentage of the overall population of Ireland.
I would love a pineapple dress!
I really want a pineapple dress!!
Lol come on, that is racially offensive. If you can’t see why the language used would cause offensive to gypsy people, then you’re a nitwit.
- Kate, Epsom, 16/2/2012 15:31 – So it’s OK to define a culture and EVERYONE in it by using the term “Asian” to mean Chinese/Indian/Pakistani?? Thought not!
Gypsy isn’t a race, it’s a way of life… They are Irish travellers… who by the way, have no dress sense whatsoever.
- TheKing, Nigeria, 16/2/2012 10:11 – gypsies are not a race?! So that’s why my skin is darker then?! Go and look up the term “Gypsy” on Google YOU halfwit!!!!
If the travelling community were going to protest, surely they would have done so long before now. The advertisement posters are a play on words from the title, and I don’t see what the fuss is about. “Bigger Fatter Gypsier” = “Big Fat Gypsy Weddings”.
The participants themselves know the show’s name and don’t seem to be upset about how they are portrayed. If anything, they should be more concerned by the show’s content than the advertising. They don’t do themselves any favours with their old-fashioned, sexist views, fascination with tacky fashions, choosing to be segregated from everyday society.
Reading comments on here i am amazed that some people are so ignorant they think the term “race” is only to do with skin colour. It is deeper than that.
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