top of page

Sports shop withdraws "sexist" advert

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

Retailer JD Sports remove "sexist" photo promoting official Scotland football shirt after complaint received from a father.

JD Sports, the official retailer of the Scotland football replica kit, have withdrawn a publicity photo for the Scotland football shirt after being criticised for being sexist.

The men's and children's versions were promoted in rather traditional poses whereas the women's shirt was modelled by a female posing provocatively in ripped jeans. Father-of-two Simon Kemp submitted a complaint after seeing the picture online when purchasing shorts for his children.

He was planning to attend the women's world cup matches later in the year but was shocked by the inappropriate photo being used to promote the women's shirt. He criticised the decision on the online social media platform, twitter, stating that he was alarmed to see the men and boys presented as athletes but the woman as a model. He also complained about the shirts being marketed as "boys" not "children" shirts. The image was changed not long after he tweeted after the Scottish Football Association requested the image be changed. The Scottish FA made a public apology for any offence caused including the statement "At the Scottish FA, we are absolutely committed to further strengthening equality and diversity in Scottish football and promoting the girls' and women's game across the nation."

JD Sports explained that they "occasionally test alternative product styles online to appeal to the full range of customers", They went on to say "While the principal images used for this product online were modelled in the traditional sportswear style, an alternative fashion-led image was tested for a short time." The retailer also apologised unreservedly for any offence caused and committed to not using such publicity styles in future.

Mr Kemp was quoted as saying "I'd like to think we made the world a slightly better place."

It has not been uncommon for companies to withdraw products or advertising in the face of complaints from the public or campaign groups in recent years, but this seems to have set a new record for such a response coming from just a single complaint. Although the old expression that there is no such thing as bad publicity may be appropriate in this case, as the image has been seen across newspapers, TV reports and news sites on the web, far more widely than it would have been.

bottom of page