Please note that this story and the linked video include homophobic and transphobic language.
Mardi Gras sponsor ANZ has come under fire for a video released as part of its new #LoveSpeech campaign.
“Words do hurt. We need more #LoveSpeech,” the bank tweeted yesterday.
The minute-long video features a rapid-fire montage of LGBTIQ people repeating names they have been called, including ‘faggot’, ‘tranny’, ‘dyke’, and ‘freak’.
Many social media users have criticised ANZ for sharing the confronting video without a warning about its content.
“We absolutely need #LoveSpeech, but I’m afraid this video may be triggering to the very people it is intended to help,” wrote Twitter user Mama T.
Other have posted that they intend to change banks over the campaign.
“Your #LoveSpeech campaign threw a video of multiple hard slurs in my face with absolutely no warning,” tweeted customer Josh to ANZ.
“Feels pretty gross and a bit hurtful, to me, watching an ad for a bank using [these] uncensored words… in the newsfeed,” wrote LGBTIQ advocate Sally Rugg.
“How dare you monetise our trauma,” tweeted activist Nic Holas of The Institute of Many.
ANZ has responded to individual complaints with assurances that the campaign is intended to highlight the impact of abusive homophobic and transphobic language.
“We are trying to demonstrate the impact these words can have so that people might stop using them, or call them out as hurtful when witnessed,” they wrote.
The bank has been ridiculed for its “pink-washing” approach and “straight-splaining”.
“So… you’re using [slurs] to tell people not to use them?” wrote Twitter user Ashra.
One person who was approached to participate in the video said they were “angry” and withdrew their interest after reading the brief.
ANZ has confirmed that two participants pulled out of the project after seeing the script.
The bank has also stated that all people featured in the video are members of the LGBTIQ community and were paid for their participation.
“Our Pride Network at ANZ, which includes trans, bi, gay and gender diverse staff members, helped to develop this campaign and have been contributors in many ways, including all content reviews,” a spokesperson told Pink Advocate.
“We considered a range of community views and sought all the necessary classifications and ratings.
“Through the video we hope to start a genuine conversation about hurtful language and how to disarm it.”
Samantha Nomonie Smith said she was “honoured” to appear in the video.
“The conversation needs to be had around hurtful language towards the LGBTIQ+ community and the effect it has on us,” she said.
“Being a part of this film has given me and others a voice that wouldn’t have been heard otherwise.
“I know it is confronting and for many of us, hard to watch, but it’s important that people realise that it’s what we experience each and every day.
“I’m really proud to be a part of igniting this conversation.”
As well as the video, the #LoveSpeech campaign includes a series of animated gifs that reframe anti-LGBTIQ sentiments.
One initially shows the statement ‘Trans people are sick’, before adding ‘of being soooo fabulous’.
Like others, Twitter user Heather announced her intent to change banks, citing offence caused by the gifs.
“I’m trans, I dislike being called ‘sick’, and hearing ‘fabulous’ afterwards makes me feel like I’m being compared to a drag queen (which, in case it needs clarification, is a bad comparison),” she posted.
Conservatives have also reacted badly to the campaign, with some social media users threatening to leave ANZ over the bank’s stated support of the LGBTIQ community.
ANZ is the principal partner of this year’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.