Vodafone slammed for 'vulgar' advert at Big Gay Out

Social media users were quick to condemn the telco for the signage.
Social media users were quick to condemn the telco for the signage. Photo credit: Facebook

Vodafone New Zealand has been slammed for their controversial signage displayed at a kids' play area at Auckland's Big Gay Out event on Sunday.

The festival marketed as "whānau-friendly" provided a ball pit for kids under a banner that read: "Go balls deep with Vodafone".

The Big Gay Out event at Coyle Park was sponsored by Vodafone as part of the Auckland Pride Festival.

Social media users were quick to condemn the telco for the signage. 

The New Conservative NZ political party called the advert  “vulgar” and  “disgusting” in a post on its Facebook page. 

"New Conservative calls this out as a disgusting hypersexualising of your children," the post read.

"We are a conservative party, therefore family and children are a major pillar of ours. Sexualisation of children is unhealthy for any society."

Vodafone New Zealand CEO Jason Paris showed his support for the signage in a tweet yesterday. 

"What an incredible job the @vodafoneNZ team have done @biggayout again this year.

"Love the marketing line to describe our coloured ball jump zone too!" Paris wrote. 

Outraged Twitter users hit back at Paris' "terrible mistake" in the post's comments.

One user commented: "Absolutely disgusting. Lost a customer."

"Public apology would be appreciated for this vulgar move," another user wrote.

"I'm gay, I'm grateful for your support but no need to over sexualise LGBT," a user replied.

In a statement, Vodafone said they were "proud to be part of the Rainbow community".

"We pushed the boundaries a bit this year via our ball pit, which was intended to be a fun way to celebrate Pride...at which there are often risqué sights. 

"The tent was located within the main festival, where the majority of attendees are adults, and all the feedback received from festival goers on the day was overwhelmingly positive."

Newshub has contacted Big Gay Out for comment.

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