Search This Blog

Monday, June 01, 2009

NSW Ombudsman pushes child models' treatment into the open

Julie Gale

The following is a media release from Kids Free 2B Kids - distributed by AAP MediaNet. The basis of the exemption claim by the NSW Office of the Children's Guardian which held this up for a year is not specified, nor details of what has now been released after the intervention of the Ombudsman. But it's some sort of win.

"David Jones Sprung for Ads Sexualising Children

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws completely vindicate claims by The Australia Institute that retailer David Jones used advertisements that sexualised children as young as 10, according to advocacy group Kids Free 2B Kids.

The documents reveal a brief asking for girls aged 10 and 12 to be "more adult and sexy". The girls appeared in an Alison Ashley advertisement created by the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi for David Jones.

"Saatchi & Saatchi hired a top law firm to fight tooth and nail to prevent these documents being released but, after a year-long battle and various appeals, the NSW Ombudsman has finally ordered that some of the material be handed over", said Kids Free 2B Kids Executive Director Julie Gale.

At the time David Jones vigorously denied accusations in the Australia Institute's report, Corporate Paedophilia, claiming the company would never eroticise children and had policies to prevent it. The company sued the Institute and its Executive Director Dr Clive Hamilton under the Trade Practices Act but subsequently dropped the action.

Saatchi & Saatchi responded to the Institute's claims in 2006 saying: "We have never, ever eroticised children in any way for any client in any communication. Not only is the idea repugnant to us, we take very seriously the fact that David Jones is a family brand."

"We now have proof that while David Jones and Saatchi were issuing strong denials they had in fact presented young girls who had been deliberately made to look sexy", said Ms Gale.

"The Alison Ashley advertisement that featured in the Good Weekend was the one singled out by the Australia Institute as beyond the pale. The Australia Institute and many others could see that the girls were being eroticised, why couldn't David Jones?", she said.

"The child models who were asked to adopt sexually provocative poses were betrayed, and so were their parents, who entrusted their children to those responsible," she said.

Ms Gale called on David Jones to issue apologies to the children, their parents and the Australia Institute.

The FoI request was made to the NSW Office of the Children's Guardian which regulates the employment of child models. The Office approved the advertising brief even though it indicated that the young girls would be posed as "slightly more adult and sexy".

No comments:

Post a comment