An advertising campaign sparked fury last night amid claims it portrays a Brexit supporter as an aggressive White skinhead.
A poster designed to encourage people from ethnic minorities to vote in the EU referendum shows an elderly Asian woman and a tattooed white thug facing each other on a see-saw.
Its promoters, Operation Black Vote (OBV), claimed the campaign highlights the ‘demonisation of foreigners and people of colour’ in the referendum campaign.
The group’s core funding comes from the Left-wing Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the charity that funds the Media Standards Trust – which spawned privacy group Hacked Off. Its director is in the Remain camp.
But critics last night lambasted the ‘repugnant’ and ‘deplorable’ poster – produced by advertising firm Saatchi and Saatchi – which they said encouraged ‘sectarian politics’.
Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘The real situation is actually a reverse of what the poster implies. Many ethnic minorities in my constituency think the EU system… is grossly unfair. What they are suggesting is wrong. It seems to be a pretty repugnant poster.’
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: ‘I supported Operation Black Vote, I want to engage people in all communities to get involved in our democracy, but I’m afraid this poster is a really big mistake.’
He called the image ‘deplorable, disgusting and divisive’ because it takes us ‘down a route of sectarian politics’ – and accused OBV of ‘trying to divide society’.
The poster – which features the slogan ‘a vote is a vote’ – will be shown on 37 digital billboards in London and Manchester in the run-up to the poll.