09 Jul 2013
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NZ firm slammed for Facebook “retard” post

A Kiwi business has come under fire, after referring to a person with Down syndrome as a "retard" on Facebook.

Following comments by Mairangi Bay's Platinum Wheels, the Advertising Standards Authority has blasted the company, with the post now removed from the social media website.

Upon loading an image of a Ford Falcon vehicle, the company edited a person with Down syndrome into the car, adding the caption: "Racing a Ford is like being in the Special Olympics. Even if you win you're still a retard."

The post, seen by Platinum Wheels' Facebook community was widely condemned, with the ASA saying the image was "likely to cause serious offence."

After ruling that the post breached advertising rules, company director Nick Hoyle apologised for the comments, yet still questioned the ASA's ruling.

"We've always put jokes and things on Facebook that are entertaining," Stuff.co.nz reported.

"The way we use Facebook, we're not trying to sell stuff. For us, it's a way to engage with our people and in turn they will follow what we're doing."

Claiming that Facebook is not the company's main marketing channel, Hoyle admitted he was "shocked" by the decision, believing the ASA shouldn't posses the power to regulate social media in this way.

"We've already apologised to anyone who was offended," he insisted. "We're not out there to go and categorise people or anything like that.

"To be honest it's not worth us spending money on lawyers to chase the ASA down because we've gotta get on with getting on."

The post received 130,000 views according to Hoyle, who claimed off-the-cuff comments such as this should not be met with harsh penalties.

"We could've used better judgement on that, we accept that," he said. "We're not being malicious, we're just purely entertaining our customers."

Was the ASA correct to punish Platinum Wheels? What can/can't you post on social media? Tell us your thoughts below

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