TV advertising censors have branded an anti-domestic violence advert starring Keira Knightley ‘too shocking’ for TV, and are refusing to allow it to be broadcast unless key scenes are cut.
The ad shows the actress returning home from a film set, where she is confronted by a violent boyfriend who accuses her of having an affair with a co-star, before launching into a vicious attack. The disturbing footage ends with Knightley left sprawled on the floor, being repeatedly kicked.
The Cut was made for the charity Women’s Aid, and launched in cinemas at the beginning of this month.
It seems pathetic. It is really important to raise awareness about domestic violence, and TV gets into people’s homes said Sandra Horely, chief executive of Refuge, a charity that provides accommodation for women and children escaping from domestic violence.
It was hoped that the ad would air on TV this month, but it will now only be seen on British television if scenes showing Knightley being thrown to the floor and kicked are axed.
The reason we are still in conversation with Clearcast about it is because they believe it is too violent, said Chris Hirst, managing director of Grey London Advertising Agency, which created The Cut.
Some believe that Clearcast is being overly cautious in failing to approve the full advert, and that advertisers are reluctant to even try to address the issue for fear of being censored. You can’t tread softly-softly on these issues. It is important that we have these public awareness campaigns, and that the message gets to the people affected by it, said the Labour MP Kerry McCarthy.
The Advertising Standards Authority has received just two complaints from the public about the new campaign, both of which were from viewers who saw the unedited version on the Women’s Aid website.