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Watchdog dismisses ‘racist’ whisky charge

Australian advertising authorities have dismissed a complaint lodged by a Scottish person who said a radio advert for Aldi’s Highland Scotch whisky was “racist”.

The Scottish person complained that Aldi’s advert was racist toward the Scottish

The radio ad, broadcast in Australia, featured bagpipes, followed by a man with a strong Scottish accent introducing himself as the head distiller of Aldi’s Highland Scotch Whisky. An English accent then translates his speech, amid protests from the Scotsman that he was speaking English.

Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau (AAB) received a complaint from a Scottish person who said he had been “offended by the racist implication” of the advert, which he said implied he was unable to speak clearly.

“Advertisements like this perpetuate the stereotype that as a nation we cannot be understood”, the complainant wrote. “This should be taken in the context of would it be acceptable to put an interpreter on an advert for an aboriginal product? No! There would be uproar. Why is it acceptable to be racist towards the Scottish?”

Despite his protestations the AAB rejected his complaint, conceding that the Scottish accent “can be difficult” for people to understand. Aldi defended the advert saying that it was intended to be “light-hearted and humorous”.

“Making fun of a person’s accent is not necessarily acceptable regardless of their nationality but considered that in this instance the advertisement is not making fun of a Scottish accent but rather playing on a common scenario whereby a strong accent, in this case Scottish, can be difficult for some people to understand, despite the same language being spoken”, the AAB board said.

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