Thousands of people have joined a group calling for the boycott of Wicked Campers after a Byron Bay man was threatened with prosecution because he sprayed over an obscene slogan on the back of one of the company’s vehicles.
The company’s vans with their lurid spraypainted slogans, some even promoting, if not inciting rape, are popular with young tourists travelling around the northern rivers.
Byron shire grandfather Paul McCarthy told media he had a ‘brain snap’ when he saw the slogan ‘A b..w job a day beats an apple’ on the back of a Wicked Camper vehicle recently and spray-painted over the offending word (blow).
Mr McCarthy took offence and has called on Byron Shire Council to ban the cars and vans. He will appeal to councillors on the issue at their meeting next Thursday, April 7.
And he has the support of thousands of people who say he should be praised, not prosecuted, for his action.
One supporter on social media said she recently saw a slogan on the back of a van in Byron Bay which read: ‘It’s not rape if you yell surprise’.
Many readers say such vulgar and offensive slogans are not funny at all and Wicked Campers management should be held responsible. (A response has been sought from the company, but at the time of going to press, none was forthcoming).
Yesterday, Paula Orbea told Mr McCarthy that she had more than 3,500 people following her ‘Boycott Wicked Campers’ page which was ‘growing by the day’.
‘Good on you and good luck,’ Ms Orbea told him, adding other campaigners against the company’s use of offensive slogans were set to meet with the Queensland Attorney-General, Yvette D-Ath, over the issue, coincidentally also next Thursday when Mr McCarthy is set to appeal to Byron Council.
Campaigner Christine King plans to give the Attorney-General a petition calling for legislation change.
Mrs King has also written to Byron shire mayor Simon Richardson, urging him to ‘help close a loophole that allows particularly women and children to be exposed to this increasingly offensive garbage’.
I’m powerless to act: mayor
Cr Richardson said that while he sympathised with Mr McCarthy, council had no power to act as it was a Queensland business and that he was ‘assuming the vehicles are roadworthy’.
But Mrs King told Cr Richardson that ‘the issue of roadworthiness is not really the point, however I have already been in contact with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads to follow up on this, as their roadworthiness is certainly in doubt’ and urged the NSW transport authorities ‘to conduct their own checks’.
She said there were various ways to tackle the problem ‘such as giving the Advertising Standards Bureau powers to impose fines, strengthening current criminal codes with regard to public indecency/obscenity, and strengthening anti-vilification laws’.
‘The issue has also been raised with the Australian Classification Board,’ Mrs King said.
‘I am currently in discussions with the Brisbane City Council lord mayor and Regulatory Services Department regarding bringing in an amendment to their signage bylaws (similar to those introduced by a number of councils in New Zealand) to deal with offensive content – this would at least cover vans coming out of their head office,’ she said.
‘However, any council can bring in their own bylaws to cover offensive signage and as one of this company’s main depots is in Byron Bay; and as people have been complaining about them for years; and as their content is getting more and more extreme; and as many of them have been found to be in breach of Advertising Standards Bureau’s code of ethics; I would urge you to help close a loophole that allows particularly women and children to be exposed to this increasingly offensive garbage.’
Mrs King provided the mayor with a bylaw which Whangerei District Council in New Zealand had introduced recently which makes it an offence for to display offensive, insulting or objectionable signs.
She also provided him with photographic evidence of the more offensive vans (http://questionsforus.com/2015/01/16/literally-wicked-campers-still-offend/)
‘You may also be interested to know that many campgrounds in NZ, including council owned ones, are starting to ban Wicked Campers altogether after numerous complaints from fellow campers have gone unheeded by the company,’ Mrs King said.
‘The issue is receiving wide media coverage at the moment in NZ and Australia, including a lengthy panel discussion this morning on Radio National. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/why-can’t-we-protect-children-against-offensive-public-images/7286840
‘A summary of the work I have been doing so far can be found on this link: https://www.change.org/p/qld-attorney-general-remove-wicked-campers-offensive-slogans-and-legislate-to-allow-fines-for-breaching-advertising-signage-codes.
‘I would very much appreciate it if you could table this letter at your next council meeting on 7 April and I look forward to hearing back from you in the near future.’
In a letter to the Brisbane Lord Mayor, Mrs King said that ‘you may not be aware that many of the backpackers who hire these vans are quite appalled when they arrive to see what is plastered on them, as these really offensive ones are not featured on the company’s website and are not used in by their overseas offices in places where the laws are stronger’.
‘There are many comments on social media from overseas tourists questioning how on earth Australia can allow such things to be used in public,’ she wrote.
‘Imagine the tourism damage these vans are causing, not to mention ruining many people’s enjoyment of our campgrounds when families find themselves camped beside, for instance, Lego figures having sex, or a cartoon chicken and egg having anal sex – most drawn in such a way as to attract the attention of children.’
In a recent article in www.dailylife.com.au headed ‘Why women should boycott Wicked Campervans’, author Clem Bastow railed against the company’s racist slogans and ‘rampant mysogyny’.
‘In some ways, there’s likely no point in making a complaint the next time you see a braindead sexist Wicked slogan in your rearview mirror,’ Ms Bastow wrote.
‘Instead, vote with your wallet: go to another hire company, because cheap rates or not, supporting a company that degrades women just so a few dropkicks can have a laugh with their tinnies on a camping trip isn’t worth saving a few measly dollars.’
Wicked Campers put on notice by Qld govt
Tough new legislation was passed in Queensland parliament on Tuesday night that will mean operators that refuse to remove inappropriate words or pictures within 14 days will have their vehicles deregistered.11 days ago | The Echo | 3
Wicked Campers forced to clean up their vans
The Queensland government has taken aim at companies that hire out campervans emblazoned with offensive slogans, which are often seen around Byron Bay and Ballina.November 8, 2016 | Chris Dobney | 7
Camper slogans incite hatred of women: MP
Byron and Ballina shire councils are set to tell the federal and state governments they’ve had enough of the vile slogans spray-painted on Wicked Campers.April 28, 2016 | Echonetdaily | 6
Council ‘powerless to act’ on offensive slogans
Byron Shire Council says taking action on offensive slogans, such as the ones on Wicked camper vans that recently have drawn public ire, is the role of police.April 5, 2016 | Chris Dobney | 2
Thousands rail against van company’s obscene slogans
Thousands of people have joined a group calling for the boycott of Wicked Campers after a Byron Bay man was threatened with prosecution because he sprayed over an obscene slogan on the back of one of the company's vehicles.April 1, 2016 | Echonetdaily | 20