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Racist’ ad rapped

PUBLISHED: 18:20 09 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 24 August 2010

A CHILDREN S charity has been slammed for its racist use of black teens from the borough in a recent ad campaign. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) criticised the depiction of black male teenagers from Kilburn in two posters promoting the charity

A CHILDREN'S charity has been slammed for its 'racist' use of black teens from the borough in a recent ad campaign.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) criticised the depiction of black male teenagers from Kilburn in two posters promoting the charity Kids Company, ruling that one 'was likely to reinforce negative stereotypes and was therefore racist'.

One poster depicted four black male teenagers with the headline 'You are right. Kids who can kill really are wrong in the head', and received a complaint for being offensive as it featured only black teenagers.

The second offending poster features two black teenagers harassing a white man while a black teenager on a bike stares menacingly at the camera.

This provoked the complaint that it was 'offensive and racist because it focused on negative images of black teenagers and implied they were thugs and criminals'.

On being shown one of the posters, Tyree Lament, 23, of Cambridge Road, Kilburn said: "I don't know what to say. I'm speechless.

"It's a negative image of black kids and I did not expect to see something like this well after the turn of the new century."

Defending itself, Kids Company said that the ads were part of a larger campaign featuring a broad cross-section of Kilburn teenagers from different ethnic backgrounds.

They said they had used negative images of anti-social teenagers so that they could engage and educate people about the social and environmental factors that produce violent teenagers.

However both complaints were upheld by the ASA.

They said that although they accepted the ads reflected the racial mix of children coming to the charity which had intended to raise awareness about the problems facing the children it sought to help, the ads had breached decency clauses and must not appear again in their current form.

A spokeswoman from Kids Company said: "Kids Company's intention was to create a perception changing campaign that challenged prejudice towards vulnerable young people.

"The adverts were viewed prior to publication by the young people of Kids Company who endorsed them.

"We received a positive response to the campaign which resulted in more than 500 members of the public volunteering their time to help vulnerable young people.

"Kids Company will not be running the campaign again and will be taking into account the three complaints when considering the future public presentation of the complex issues that were highlighted within it.

"We will not be appealing the ruling.


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