Stab Magazine | Mick Fanning's mom speaks out against KFC Commercial
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Mick Fanning’s mom speaks out against KFC Commercial

Words by Morgan Williamson “I think it’s very disrespectful,” said Mick Fanning’s mother; Elizabeth Osborne in response to the recent KFC South Africa spoof on the shark attack heard around the world… And before you get up in shark-contentious arms about how ‘it wasn’t a shark attack’. An attack by definition is an attempt to […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Words by Morgan Williamson

“I think it’s very disrespectful,” said Mick Fanning’s mother; Elizabeth Osborne in response to the recent KFC South Africa spoof on the shark attack heard around the world… And before you get up in shark-contentious arms about how ‘it wasn’t a shark attack’. An attack by definition is an attempt to injure or kill therefore I’ll withhold any patronizing conclusion.

It’s understandable where Ms Osborne is coming from, “They’ve put a lookalike in the video,” Elizabeth said to the Sydney Morning Herald. “It really brings back a lot of trauma for everybody who’s been attacked by a shark.” Having to relive the horror of her son nearly being mauled by a grey suit on a live broadcast via a spoof commercial under the umbrella of fried chicken may not be the most enjoyable notion.

But honestly, I got a kick out of the KFC shark attack commercial. It doesn’t spin the three time world champ in a bad light; if anything, it promotes the folk hero persona he will be forever remembered for. It was the single biggest event to ever happen in surfing. Never before have so many outside media’s eyes opportunistically glistened at the thrilling headlines. So much that headlines continue to roll out three months later, such as the very article you’re currently skimming. If it’s Mick and sharks it’s “news” in this clickbait driven era.

“Some families have had fatalities and some people are still absolutely scarred without limbs,” Ms Osborne said. “It disrespectful to them and Mick’s not happy with that.” Mick has yet to publicly comment on the advertisement. Elizabeth also added that the WSL’s “lawyers are getting in touch with KFC to get it off the air.”

The ad also has KFC Australia distancing themselves from their South African counterparts. “The advertisement has been produced in South Africa,” KFC-Oz said in a statement. “KFC-Australia is very sensitive to the situation and this is not the type of ad we would choose to show here.”

It’s doubtful that KFC-South Africa anticipated so much backlash for this. When you mention surfing to anyone who doesn’t surf a similar question arises time after time; “but aren’t you afraid of sharks?” To which we usually say something like; it’s an out of sight, out of mind thing, or mention some ridiculous statistic regarding lighting or the imminent danger of selfies.

Mick’s mother’s not the only one displeased by the commercial, it being out in the public eye’s sparked controversy. So, was this tasteless and insensitive? Or are public events and knowledge fair game? After all satire and irony are two things that make the world a more enjoyable place. Has KFC gone too far, or have we become overly sensitive?

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