Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Shop's Facebook post made fun of people with Down syndrome

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

The Advertising Standards Complaints Board has ordered an Auckland mag wheel shop to remove a post on its Facebook page which makes fun of people with Down syndrome.

The post on the Facebook page for Mairangi Bay shop Platinum Wheels showed a person with Down syndrome edited into a Ford Falcon car with a caption reading: "Racing a Ford is like being in the Special Olympics. Even if you win you're still a retard."

A complaint was received which labelled the post "disgusting" and "beyond offensive", which the board upheld.

It ruled the post was likely to cause serious offence, taking into account generally prevailing community standards.

The image was not saved by the allowance for the use of humour and satire and the authority ruled it had not been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility.

The authority had to consider whether a Facebook post could constitute an advertisement and found that it could because the page had been created to promote the company.

The authority ordered Platinum Wheels to remove the post and today it appeared to have been taken down.

Platinum Wheels manager Nick Hoyle said they had not intended to cause offence by posting the image.

"I understand why there was a complaint laid and I can totally see why they've taken the action they have. No worries at all.

"From our end, we try to have a bit of fun with our Facebook, we're always posted things that are likely to get a reaction out of people and some people lap it up. So what do you do? If you're always trying to be PC for everyone out there then you're sort of letting society rule how you live your life."

He said he was sorry to anyone who took offence.

"We're not out there to make fun of people or categorise people or anything like that. When it comes down to it, we just saw it as an opportunity to have a bit of a laugh about the Ford-Holden relationship. Some people got upset about it and we're sorry about that. But for the handful of people that complained, 1600 out there thought it was hilarious and shared it."

He disputed that it was an advertisement at all.

- APNZ

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