Complaint over explicit Filth film trailer upheld

A TRAILER for hit Scots film Filth has been rapped by advertising watchdogs.

James McAvoy, right, in Filth. Picture: Contributed
James McAvoy, right, in Filth. Picture: Contributed

An ad for the 18-rated movie based on Irvine Welsh’s novel and starring James McAvoy has been banned from being shown before the 9pm television watershed.

The Advertising Standards Authority(ASA) launched an investigation into the trailer after a complaint from a TV viewer.

They concluded the ad contained scenes of drug use, alcohol consumption and sexually suggestive behaviour which were unsuitable for children.

James McAvoy, right, in Filth. Picture: Contributed

One scene portrayed a young woman in lingerie approaching a line of naked men, shown from the neck down, who were holding police helmets over their private parts.

In another McAvoy’s character was shown blowing a white powder, which also covered his face, from his hand.

The advert had been permitted to be shown after 7.30pm by Clearcast, the body which vets ads before they air.

However, the ASA upheld the compliant and said it should not be broadcast before 9pm.

In a written ruling, the ASA said: “The ASA acknowledged that the ad had been given a post 7.30pm restriction, and it was therefore not shown around programmes commissioned for, principally directed at, or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 16 years.

“However, we noted that the ad contained clips likely to be seen as portraying drug use, alcohol consumption followed by vomiting, partial nudity and sexually suggestive behaviour.

“We did not consider that the scenes would cause harm or distress to children, that is we did not think the scenes would encourage or condone the behaviour shown or frighten children, but we were concerned about their suitability for children.

“We concluded that, when viewed together as a series of clips, the overall cumulative effect of those scenes portrayed a very negative, anti-social culture, which we considered would be more appropriate to be shown post 9 pm to further reduce the likelihood of children viewing the ad.”

Filth tells the story of drug-addicted Edinburgh policeman Bruce Robertson, played by McAvoy.

It was released in Scotland last September and across the UK the following month.

The film, which was directed by Jon Baird and also starred Jamie Bell and Shirley Henderson, took in nearly Pounds 4 million at the box office.

The film’s distributors, Lionsgate, said there were no plans to show the advert again in the future.

Clearcast felt that the post 7.30 pm restriction was an appropriate restriction for this ad.

They said the scenes of a sexual nature were extremely brief and non-graphic.