Should we as a society be speaking up about violence against men that would not be tolerated if the gender was reversed? Is that being too uptight? When the character of Penny, in The Big Bang kicks a guy in the balls it’s portrayed as hilarious. When the character played by Robert De Niro in the movie The Wedding, gets punched in the face by a character playing an ex-wife, and then again by the character playing his current wife – it’s cheap slap-stick humour? Is there a message? If it was reversed and he punched his ex and then his wife would it be as funny?
In the week of August 5th there was a cyber petition being passed around which received attention from 27 countries and all but two of the 50 American States. The initiators of the petition, Fathers and Families New York, started the petition with the intent to stop Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), from running a commercial which made light of domestic violence. The petition is here. In the words of Fathers and Families New York, “Yesterday, [16 August 2013] we reached our third milestone of 500 signatures calling on Kentucky Fried Chicken to pull their commercial making light of domestic violence. KFC has dismissed our concerns, calling the commercial “tongue-in-cheek humour” in response to our emails, phone calls, and Facebook posts. Apparently, they don’t get it that domestic violence is never a joke, no matter what the gender of the victim or the perpetrator. The response from the 15 billion dollar company is arguably irresponsible to say the least. In 2008 the company decided to navigate its advertising towards, “family focused ads to promote its meal deals.” With an estimated ‘brand value’ of 6 billion dollars, one would think that the behemoth could do a better job in terms of social responsibility. In a letter from 2012, the CEO of ‘Yum Brands’ (owner of KFC) professed that, “We are proud of the great strides our brands are making across the globe to be socially responsible companies and we’re excited about the strong commitments we are taking going forward, which we’ve highlighted in this year’s report.” I doubt KFC is proud of using domestic violence to promote some ‘spicy chicken’. If they are, then the message is out of step with what they are doing by broadcasting a message to society with the unspoken message that men getting slapped is funny. If the roles were reversed would it be ‘tongue in cheek’ humour? Here is a link to the promotion: KFC promotes domestic violence Addendum: On August 28th, KFC pulled the domestic violence ad that they thought would help sell their fried chicken. Fathers and Families New York wrote, “This past weekend, Kentucky Fried Chicken ceased running their Hot Shot Bites commercial that depicted an act of domestic violence intended to be perceived as comedy. The commercial has been removed from the KFC web site, and the YouTube video of the commercial has been marked as restricted, making it inaccessible to the public. It seems clear that KFC has realized its mistake and does not wish to advertise the fact that the commercial ever existed in the first place! This is an amazing victory and brings us one step closer to a world that does not tolerate domestic violence against anyone. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, sent an email, made a phone call, or visited your local KFC restaurant. It is because of you that this has happened.”