Rachel Smalley is a radio host for Newstalk ZB. Listen to her between 5am and 6am every weekday morning.

Rachel Smalley: Wicked Campers laughing at sexual violence

Vans at Wicked Campers depot in Penrose. Photo / Getty Images, Fiona Goodall
Vans at Wicked Campers depot in Penrose. Photo / Getty Images, Fiona Goodall

Censorship officials have banned three slogans on Wicked Campers vehicles that promote drug use and sexual violence, each of them ruled as objectionable publications by the Chief Censor.

What a breakthrough, and what a smart decision. I could probably lump a few more in there too, but baby steps. We'll go with the three slogans for start.

Some of them are hideous - censors referred to the three they were dealing with as "totally overstepping the mark" - and linked drug use to children.

In one slogan, Snow White is using a crack cocaine pipe. In another, Scooby Doo characters are smoking pot. In a third, a Dr Seuss character is talking about smoking marijuana.

More slogans will go before the Chief Censor, and hopefully we'll see these vans taken off our roads too. Here's a few grim examples:

One says "A man would be interested in a woman's mind if it bounced gently as she walked."

Another: "Your thighs won't touch if my head's between them."

And this: "In every princess there is a slut who wants to try it just once."

See? Hideous.

Wicked Campers' lawyers said the slogans "attract and reflect Wicked's young customer base through its extensive use of popular culture and touchstones."

What a bunch of tripe. They also argued the right to freedom of expression. They said what they wrote on their vans was no different from an individual displaying artwork in a gallery. Rubbish. Utter rubbish.

READ MORE: Wicked Campers slogans ruled objectionable by Chief Censor

There is, sadly, those among us who believe the slogans are fine. They're funny. It's the Kiwi way, we're just having a bit of a laugh. That we're all getting a bit oversensitive about it.

But to those people, I would say this: There have been two big stories that have dominated the media agenda in the last 24 hours. There's been this story of the Wicked Campers slogans which promote drug use and sexual violence, and the story of an alleged teenage sex attacker on the streets of Auckland who's targeting and groping women.

We live in a country with high rates of domestic violence and high rates of sexual violence. So you tell me at what point I should laugh at some of these slogans.

Tell me at what point I should see the hilarity in the slogan, "To all you virgins out there, thanks for nothing".

Banning the Wicked Camper slogans is not just about cleaning up our image in the eyes of tourists, it's about how we perceive women. It's about the images and slogans we're subjecting our children to.

This ban is a victory for common sense, for common decency, and a first step in the right direction.

Debate on this article is now closed.


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Rachel Smalley is a radio host for Newstalk ZB. Listen to her between 5am and 6am every weekday morning.

Rachel’s career in journalism is extensive. She has reported from Europe, Africa, Asia and America, covering elections in Britain, the United States, France and New Zealand. She joined Newstalk ZB as host of KPMG Early Edition in 2013 and also works on TVNZ’s Sunday and Q&A current affairs programmes.

Read more by Rachel Smalley

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