French fine Benetton over `offensive’ HIV ads

Benetton has been fined $32,000 (ú21,000) by a French court for causing offence to people with HIV and Aids, with its controversial advertising.

Benetton has been fined $32,000 (£21,000) by a French court for causing offence to people with HIV and Aids, with its controversial advertising.

The decision follows a case brought by three HIV positive people and the AIDES Federation Nationale claiming that the knitwear company’s 1993 campaign, featuring images of a forearm, lower abdomen and backside branded with the phrase “HIV-positive”, was intrusive and exploitative. The Paris court said the campaign was an abuse of expression and a “provocative exploitation of suffering” in finding against Benetton.

Benetton is also pursuing legal actions against German retailers for unpaid bills (MW last week). The retailers are demanding compensation for damage done by the controversial ad campaigns.

The French court asked for an undertaking that the HIV Positive campaign would not be repeated. Benetton is appealing against the court’s decision.

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