A fish and chip shop has promised to remove an advert labelled “highly inappropriate” by Victoria Beckham after it used a cartoon of her to promote thin-crust pizzas.
The advertisement, by Sidhu Golden Fish And Chips in Battle Hill, Wallsend, shows a drawing of a thin woman with bones visible through her skin and the slogan: “Our new Victoria Beckham Thin Crust only 2mm Thin!!”
The woman, labelled “Victoria Beckham,” wears a sash reading: “Anorexic Fashion Icon”.
A representative for mother-of-four, Beckham, said: “It is highly inappropriate to trivialise such a disorder, and defamatory to be so thoughtless with a persons reputation in this way, therefore we are seeking legal advice.”
An employee at the Tyneside restaurant, who did not wish to be named, said the owners planned to take down the advert, which was featured on the back of a company van.
He told the Press Association: “No official complaint has been made, but the owners have decided to take the offending poster down.
“We don’t want to cause any aggravation, it wasn’t supposed to be like that, we are a small business of close staff that live locally, we’re not about causing aggro.
“We’re about having a laugh and making people smile and we don’t want things to get out of hand and offend anybody – if somebody doesn’t smile then all the fun is out of it.”
Shop manager Soni Sidhu said in a statement shared on the shop’s Facebook page: “I would like to state we recognise how serious eating disorders are and would never make light the seriousness of people with eating disorders.
“We have always stated even if one individual is upset or offended by our advert we would be more than happy to take it down.”
Explaining that the picture was found by typing the word “thin” into Google, he also added: “If in 2017 Britain we are asked to take down this advert it will be a sad day for freedom of expression.”
Beat, a leading UK eating disorder charity, joined a number of organisations condemning the poster, describing it as “inappropriate” and adding that it trivialises eating disorders.
A spokeswoman said in a statement: “Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
“At Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, we work for a society where those with eating disorders are free of stigma and misunderstanding. We still have a way to go, but recently mental health has taken a step forward with lots of good work achieved by charities and media outlets.
“This advertisement is completely inappropriate; it trivialises the struggles people with eating disorder face and compromises the steps that have been taken to increase understanding of eating disorders.”