People driving vehicles plastered with sexist and offensive slogans like “Virginity is curable” and “A kiss upstairs is an application for a ‘job’ in the basement” have been banned from attending an iconic Aussie music festival.
The Wollombi Music Festival, in the NSW Hunter Region, says organisers came to the “conclusion” that Wicked Camper vans were “disrespecting and degrading women”.
“(The slogans) aren’t funny or libertine, it’s just disrespectful,” organisers wrote on Facebook this week. “We look forward to being one of many festivals doing the same thing.”
In December, festival organisers shared a picture of a Wicked Camper van with the slogan “I don’t usually give a woman an orgasm, but when I do she spits it out”.
Organisers wrote: “Apparently this is funny, edgy, irreverent, just a bit of fun. Wicked Campers you are seriously a bunch of sh*theads.
“Women are being bashed, killed, raped, stalked and harrassed every day in this country and you still think this is some kind of quirky guerrilla marketing. Grow up.”
The announcement comes amid increasing pressure on the company to transform its brand to align with 2019 standards.
Collective Shout, the organisation leading a campaign against Wicked Campers, celebrated the Wollombi Music Festival announcement.
Co-founder Melinda Tankard Reist told news.com.au that festival organiser Adrian Buckley is an example for others to follow.
“Collective Shout has been campaigning against Wicked Campers for close to a decade. These vans are misogyny on four wheels. The company demonstrates it doesn’t care for women, doesn’t give a damn about community concerns and shows contempt for corporate social responsibility,” she said.
“They spread harmful anti-women messages through degrading artwork and slogans. The company is notorious for its sexually explicit slogans and imagery — some messages even advocate rape and murder.
“It is hard to believe that at a time of significant cultural reckoning about the mistreatment of women around the globe, that these vans and their hateful slogans continue to appear on our roads.”
The slogans she refers to are painted across the rear and both sides of the vans in different states. A van spotted on Melbourne roads this week was painted with the slogan, “You can unfollow me but you can’t un-swallow me”.
Others offensive slogans include: “Life is like a bowl of soup … you only get blown if you’re hot”, “Root veggies, get ‘em in ya” and “Don’t be sad laundry, nobody’s doing me either”.
The company is no stranger to backlash. Complaints flood its social media channels. One user wrote on Instagram that the company’s brand “sucks” and that it is a “legitimate shock” that they are still around.
“I moved from Brisbane to Melbourne 10 years ago and have had the pleasure of not seeing any of your stupid quotes driving in front of me since then, but now I’m back and surprisingly you’re still in business despite how truly idiotic, sexist, crass and just plain not funny your sh*t is,” he said. “It’s a legitimate shock.”
News.com.au reached out to Wicked Campers for comment. Previously, the company has defended its advertising despite multiple complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau.
They apologised in 2014 over a slogan that read: “In every princess, there’s a little slut who wants to try it just once”.
Wicked director John Webb said the slogan was “out of the realms of what is considered to be ‘socially acceptable’” but claimed it was “impossible for us to conceive that a throwaway message written on a van could have such far-reaching implications for the community at large”.
Different states have tried different things to get Wicked Campers to change its strategy.
Tasmania and Queensland passed laws that mean Wicked Camper vans can be deregistered if the ASB upholds a complaint and the offending van’s slogan is not removed within two weeks.
A petition, started by an 11-year-old who was offended by the use of the term “sluts”, has asked other states to do the same.
“We are calling on MPs to enact similar legislation in other states — Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria,” the petition, signed by more than 7000 people, reads.
“This will close the loophole that allows deregistered Wicked Campers to cross the boarder and re-register in other states.”
Continue the conversation: email@example.com | @ro_smith