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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 11:15 GMT
Firm slated for 'retard' advert
Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman played an autism sufferer in Rain Man
An advertisement for a mobile phone accessory company has been criticised by an industry watchdog for being offensive to people with autism.

The advert, by West Midlands-based Onetoo Limited, featured actor Dustin Hoffman in the 1988 film Rain Man, with word "retard" stamped across his image.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the advert was likely to cause "serious offence".

It is the fourth complaint to be upheld against Onetoo in the last year.

It was an advertisement that caused a lot of distress
Stuart Notholt
National Autistic Society

The ASA said the image was likely to cause "serious and widespread offence amongst people with autism, their carers and their families".

The watchdog made its judgement after the National Autistic Society (NAS) complained about the advert, which was published in the football magazine FourFourTwo.

Onetoo said the image, which was designed to promote its mobile phone logos and wallpapers, was supposed to be humorous.

It said the picture was adapted from a T-shirt design created by a popular skateboard brand and had not been intended to cause any offence.

'Racist' advert

The company said the image had been removed and would not be used again.

The publisher of FourFourTwo said it would try to make sure that similar images did not appear in the magazine in future.

Stuart Notholt, director of policy and public affairs at the NAS, said it was "delighted" with the ASA ruling.

He said: "It was an advertisement that caused a lot of distress."

The complaint is the fourth to be upheld against Onetoo by the ASA in the last year.

The Sutton Coldfield-based firm was criticised by the watchdog in January for a "racist" advert featuring a gorilla's face superimposed on the body of a black woman in a bikini.




SEE ALSO:
Gorilla ad was 'racist'
28 Jan 04  |  West Midlands


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