Date: 02/04/2020
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Sadiq Khan’s naked hypocrisy

I was hoping to get my own photographs of this "award winning" advertisment to put with the ones I took in 2018 to illustrate Sadiq Khan's double standards regarding the acceptability of adverts on London Underground. But I haven't seen this advert during several journeys last week, not even by bus on the JCDecaux bus shelters. I'm not in a position to make a special trip to Canary Wharf this weekend so I'm taking the picture (and some of the pertinant comment which accords with my own thoughts) from Spiked. 

London mayor Sadiq Khan has awarded £500,000 worth of free advertising on the London Underground to hosiery brand Nubian Skin.

The brand’s ‘A different kind of nude’ campaign was unveiled by the mayor as the winner of a Transport for London competition to promote diversity in advertising. The adverts, to be displayed in prominent positions across the tube network, feature men and women in nude-toned underwear.

Khan's own tweet says

I’m proud to unveil Nubian Skin as the winner of this year’s TfL Diversity in Advertising Competition. Look out for their empowering, inclusive adverts on the the @TfL  network.

Most people are fine seeing men and women in underwear and are unlikely to find anything offensive about the adverts. But Sadiq Khan – notoriously – does not like to see women in underwear in adverts. One of Khan’s first moves as mayor was to ban Protein World’s ‘beach body ready’ adverts, which featured a fitness model in a bikini. 

Yet Khan’s TfL has also banned adverts featuring partial nudity on entirely prudish grounds. In 2017, TfL banned an advert for Heist, a tights brand. . . The advert was branded ‘overly sexualised’ and the tights company was ordered to cover up the offending back. I mentioned both examples and more in 2018. 

I also showed models of colour (colours other than white, pale pink or freckled that is) in a state of partial undress and provocative poses (left) advertising the northern sweatshop produced garments of the wealthy Muslim family who own the ranges BooHoo and Pretty Little Thing. Mayor Khan was perfectly happy with these.
BooHoo got ticked off by the Advertising Watchdog last year for "
products ... presented in an overly-sexualised way that invited viewers to view the women as sexual objects,” during a TV campaign. Most of their adverts that I have noticed so far this year are for the menswear range BooHooMAN. Hoodies and tracksuit bottoms to wear over the Nubian skin shades of brown y-fronts I think. 

Sadiq Khan gets some criticism in his twitter feed and there are some constructive comments. 

  • How is making everybody black 'diversity'?
  • Being black also, I too am tired of my skin colour being embraced to promote racism towards the Majority. As if that poster promotes diversity
  • I am brown-skinned. If I don't feel empowered by this ad, does that make me a fascist? Just asking....
  • I think they’re diverse in the sense that people in adverts are usually attractive and perfectly formed whereas the Mayor’s prizewinner featured unattractive lumpy people.
  • Thank goodness a black guy said that if that was a white guy they would have racist all over it. NO diversity or inclusiveness in that pic.

The next election for London Mayor and London Assembly is this coming May. With Labour slaughtered in the general election his best hope of power is to continue as Mayor.  There are some good candidates other than Khan. But has he got the identity and cultural vote too well under control? 

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