Complaint over 'offensive' Game of Thrones ad rejected

By Sophie Ryan

Jack Gleeson plays King Joffrey in Game of Thrones.
Jack Gleeson plays King Joffrey in Game of Thrones.

"Offensive" language used in an advertisement for the latest season of Game of Thrones spurred a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

A complainant contacted the ASA to say a billboard advertisement for SoHo Channel's season four of Game of Thrones reading "the bastard returns" was offensive.

The complainant wrote "there is no need for this type of language on public display."

The complainant said the offensive billboard was in an area with a lot of schoolchildren passing every day.

One of the lead characters on the show is Jon Snow, the illegitimate son of Ned Stark and is often referred to in the show as a bastard.

In the Advertising Standards Complaints Board's decision, chairwoman Jenny Robson said the use of the term was contextually relevant to the show, as the character was illegitimate.

She also noted that the word bastard was less offensive than other expletives.

Ms Robson referred to the Broadcasting Standards guideline that showed people found the word "bastard" was ranked in the lowest quarter of offensive words.

The advertisement would not have caused widespread offence, Ms Robson said, and there was no apparent breach of Advertising Codes.

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