Advertising watchdog demands Paddy Power pull Oscar Pistorius ad

5 Mar 2014

Oscar Pistorius at the Los Angeles premiere of Alex Cross in October 2012

Paddy Power is pulling an ad featuring sprint runner Oscar Pistorius, who is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend, after the UK Advertising Standards Authority received ‘unprecedented’ complaints.

The ad, targeted at online customers, featured a photo of the Paralympic gold medallist mocked up as an Oscar statuette and offered punters “money back if he walks” or is found not guilty of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

In a statement, the Advertising Standards Authority said today it ordered the ad be withdrawn in the UK with immediate effect.

“On the back of an unprecedented number of complaints, we are investigating whether the ad is offensive for trivialising the issues surrounding a murder trial, the death of a woman and disability; we are also challenging whether, in doing so, it brings the good reputation of advertising generally into dispute,” the authority said.

The ad coincided with the Hollywood film industry’s Oscar awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday and the first day of Pistorius’ trial in Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday, where he formally pleaded not guilty to four charges, including the murder of Steenkamp.

Prosecutors allege Pistorius shot his girlfriend through the bathroom door at his home in Pretoria on 14 February 2013. Pistorius claims he mistook her for an intruder.

Oscar Pistorius image via Shutterstock

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic