Scentre Group and Honey Birdette Advertisements in Westfield Retail Space: Eight examples of Inconsistency
1) Scentre Group promotes awareness and supports victims of domestic violence
They also allow display of sexualised imagery- the very type that perpetuates harmful stereotypes and is correlated with violence against women.
2) Avoidance of discrimination
Scentre Group Directors’ Code of Conduct requires that directors
“Avoid discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, religious beliefs, race, marital status or disability.”
Yet in their retail space, discrimination occurs daily against Westfield customers in the form unwanted exposure to sexualised imagery.
3) Concerns for public health and safety
Scentre Group employees are encouraged to report behaviours that bring “harm to public health or safety or the health or safety of any Scentre Group employee.”
Despite the claim above, Scentre Group continues to allow display of sexualised imagery - the very type verified by research to harm mental health, body image, sense of self-worth and attitudes towards women.
4) Encouragement to report unethical behaviours
Scentre Group employees are urged - via formal whistleblowing policy - to report concerns about “unethical, unlawful or improper conduct” and are ensured they may do so “without fear of reprisal.”
Yet when customers reported unethical behaviours (in the form of Honey Birdette advertisements - 13 recent examples of which have been ruled to breach Ad Standards) Scentre Group’s response was silence. Direct approaches to Scentre Group lessees, Honey Birdette, have been met with claims that are dismissive, condescending and scientifically indefensible.
5) Champions for gender equality
Brian Schwartz, chairman of Scentre Group, has been lauded as a champion for gender equality in the workplace. He was initially driven by the desire to see his own daughters grow up in a world with equal access to opportunities to succeed and excel.
Despite this, Scentre Group has remained content for customers’ daughters (and sons) to grow up in a world where exposure to sexualised imagery in the course of grocery shopping and visits to Santa is the norm.
6) Commitment to the development of women
Westfield is the major sponsor of our national women’s soccer team, the Matildas, and also of the Young Matildas (under-20s team). (See https://matildas.footballaustralia.com.au/)
Despite Westfield’s tremendous dedication to the development of women in sport, they have failed women in the general public by allowing the display of overtly sexualised imagery (via Honey Birdette advertising) to persist.
7) Commitment to community enrichment
In the endeavour to “connect and enrich communities,” Scentre Group gathered feedback from “some 29,000 community members.”
Despite their stated commitment to the betterment of local communities, Scentre Group has largely ignored the 63,000 community members who have signed this petition.
8) Proponents of change
Sir Frank Lowy, Owner and Manager (and former Chair) of Westfield was named a 2018 BOSS (publication) True Leader. True Leaders are “people who are changing Australia for the better.”
Despite this award and the existing change.org petition which has urged Westfield to indeed make a change for the better by ceasing to allow Honey Birdette porn-style advertising in their retail space, no change has occurred.
Sir Frank was quoted in March, regarding the growing popularity and success of pop-ups in Westfield shopping centres and their resemblance to kiosks of old:
“The more things change, the more they stay the same."
Sadly, little could be more truly said about the perpetual disregard and mistreatment of customers in Westfield-owned retail space – driven by Westfield’s continuing permissive relationship with Honey Birdette. Only when this dichotomous situation ceases and Westfield agrees to allow advertising only of the type that lines up with their other positive statements and activities within their retail space will any true change be possible.
Click here to sign the petition to Westfield
The Ad Standards panel have again determined that Honey Birdette's latest poster is in breach of the advertising code of ethics. The posters have been hanging in major shopping centres around the country in direct view of families and children.
Mumbrella reported that this is the 13th ad that has been banned for Honey Birdette out of 28 rulings meaning nearly half of the ads have breached the code of ethics.
“At a time where sexual assault is increasing in the news, this legitimisation of using woman’s naked bodies to sell underwear is inappropriate. Other manufacturers sell underwear/ lingerie and do not portray woman in this way nor do it in full view of young boys and girls. This is not about an objection to women.
“It is the objection to the sexual objectification of women – it is about opposition to sexism, to corporates who profit from the sexual exploitation of women and have the audacity to claim they are empowering women in the process,” one the complaints continued.Read more
Westfield CEO responds: is not in a position to implement standards for advertising in Westfield shopping centres.Read more
Current and former employees of Honey Birdette continue to fight back against the company over poor work conditions and sexual harassment.
*Update* Calvin Klein remove sexualised advertisement
Thanks for your patience with this matter. We hope you can understand our need to balance both the rights of the retailer with the needs of the community.
We shared these concerns with Calvin Klein, and are pleased to report that they have replaced that particular artwork with alternate imagery overnight.
We do value community feedback and we're pleased to have been able to work with the retailer to address these concerns.
This picture outside a Calvin Klein store in a Westfield Shopping Centre was recently brought to our attention.Read more
Collective Shout call for financial penalties for repeat offenders
Honey Birdette are no stranger to the Advertising Standards Board. The sex shop which masquerades as a high end lingerie store in major shopping centres across Australia have repeatedly breached the advertising codes showing little regard for the self regulated system currently operating in Australia.
We've been writing about Honey Birdette's porn themed advertising since 2011.Read more
A Collective Shout supporter was recently in a mall teeming with children and Christmas shoppers when she was confronted by Hustler T-shirts hanging at the entrance of a Krank Clothing store.
According to the Krank website, the company claims to be “Australias largest motox and lifestyle store”. It's a place where adults and young people would go for all their motor sport gear. They have clothing divisions for men, women, girls and children.
But Krank doesn't just cater for motor sports. It is also a distributor of pornographic apparel, stocking the Hustler brand.Read more