Derby

'Disgust' over 'fat & ugly' Fit4Less advert

Fit4Less gym advert
Image caption The poster is in the same place as the original, outside a supermarket in Sawley in Derbyshire

A gym responsible for an "offensive" billboard poster has replaced it with one described as "even worse" than the original.

Anti-bullying charity Combat Bullying said the poster, which suggests being "fat & ugly" requires "a cure", gives fuel for bullies to pick on children.

Fit4Less said their advert in Sawley, Derbyshire, is intended to be "light-hearted fun".

But Natalie Harvey from the charity said it "absolutely disgusts" her.

She said she was bullied from the age of four for having a "ginger afro" and always felt "fat and ugly" herself.

Image copyright Natalie Harvey
Image caption Natalie Harvey from Combat Bullying was bullied from the age of four for having a "ginger afro"
Image copyright Natalie Harvey
Image caption Natalie Harvey said she can deal with the poster as a 39-year-old woman, but younger people might not be able to

"I was terribly bullied as a child to the point I was beaten up and had a broken arm, just because my hair was different," she said.

"I don't understand why we are using these kinds of advertising. It's almost like shaming people."

Mrs Harvey said she can deal with the advert as a 39-year-old woman, but young or vulnerable people might not be able to.

"If it's near a pub or where adults frequent I'm not bothered, but it's a big poster outside a family supermarket," she said.

Image caption The previous poster told "fat" people to "save yourself"

She likened the Fit4Less posters to the television adverts for Tango in the 1990s.

One featured a man being slapped around the face, but the slap was changed to a kiss after reports of children copying this and perforating their eardrums.

A later advert, featuring James Corden as a "bullied fat boy" was pulled following reports that it led to the bullying of fat children.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The gym in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, said "we certainly don't mean to cause offence"

The gym said in a statement: "Fit4less is a brand that doesn't take itself too seriously, the campaign is intended to be seen as light-hearted fun and we certainly don't mean to cause offence.

"By adopting a light-hearted approach we can reach a wider audience and gain the attention of people who wouldn't usually respond to traditional gym advertising."

What do people in Sawley think?

"I find it quite comical but I'm having to explain what fat and ugly means to my five-year-old at the moment."

"They just keep getting away with it so they are going to keep doing it. I think it's wrong and I think it's rude."

"I think it's entertaining. People are just too sensitive really. It's just a bit of marketing."

"It can be offensive to a lot of people. I mean I'm quite fat. I've got a medical problem so I struggle."

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