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Jason Statham 'Mechanic' advert banned by ASA

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Jason Statham at the Las Vegas premiere of 'The Mechanic'

© WENN

A television advert for an action movie starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) due to its "graphic violence".

The ad, promoting the 15-rated film The Mechanic, featured various scenes of violence, including Statham breaking someone's hand, a man's head exploding when he was shot at close range and another man being speared through the calf. A shortened version of the ad appeared during an episode of Glee on E4.

The ASA received 13 complaints about the ad being "offensive and distressing" due to its scenes of "graphic violence". A further three viewers challenged whether the ad was inappropriate for broadcast during Glee when children could have been watching.

Lionsgate UK, the production company behind The Mechanic, said it had been careful to ensure that the advert was scheduled so as not to cause offence or distress to viewers.

Clearcast, which approves ads for scheduling, said that it gave the advert a post-9pm watershed restriction due to its violent content. The body agreed with Lionsgate that it was "inevitable some viewers would be offended, irrespective of the restriction applied".

However, the ASA expressed concern that the impact of the ad's violent content was heightened because "it was edited to feature mainly violence or jeopardy without any wider context". This meant that the ad formed "a sustained stream of violent imagery".

The ASA also noted that the audience for Glee has a "significant proportion" of viewers under 16, meaning children may have been exposed to the ad's violent imagery.

"We also noted that the violence carried out by Jason Statham was shown without any further consequences to him and that, in one of the final scenes, Ben Foster looked at Jason Statham and said 'Nice', which we considered would be interpreted by viewers as condoning the serious violence that had been shown," said the regulator.

"We acknowledged that the ads had been given a post-9pm restriction by Clearcast which would reduce the likelihood of offence being caused but considered that, for the reasons given above, they were still likely to offend or distress seriously some viewers after this time."

After judging that complaints about the ads could "not be resolved with a timing restriction", the ASA ruled that they should be "withdrawn from transmission completely".

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