Advertisement

Honey Birdette Boss Rubbishes Claims 'Sexy' Breast Cancer Ad Is 'Soft Porn'

The boss of risqué lingerie brand Honey Birdette says claims the business tried to sexualise breast cancer are ‘ridiculous’ and ‘offensive’.

Honey Birdette is a corporate partner with breast cancer charity the McGrath Foundation.

The retailer raised $30,000 in only five days, by donating the entire sale of its 'Whitney' branded pink stockings to the charity.

But the McGrath Foundation has asked Honey Birdette to remove its promotional content spruiking their fundraiser after campaign group Collective Shout sounded the alarm about it, according to News Corp. 

One of the images Honey Birdette used for the fundraiser features a female model wearing the brand's 'Whitney' lingerie set -- including the pink stockings.

The image displayed the McGrath Foundation's logo and the caption: "Our aim? To raise $30,000 for breast cancer care with the Whitney pink stockings".

The images were used to promote the lingerie brand's fundraiser online, on social media and in stores.

The image was displayed in stores: Image: Collective Shout

Collective Shout said it wrote a letter to the McGrath Foundation on October 1 to express concern about the campaign. The group accused Honey Birdette of using "sexist and pornified portrayals of women".

A spokeswoman for the McGrath Foundation confirmed to 10 daily the images have been dropped from the campaign "as it is not in line with our agreement with them".

"We are aware of some complaints in response to our supporter Honey Birdette's content," she said, adding the foundation relies on donations from the public and its corporate partners to fund breast cancer nurses across Australia. 

"We are very grateful for the funds raised by our supporters during Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October." 

Image: Instagram

Collective Shout campaign manager Melinda Liszewksi accused Honey Birdette of "pinkwashing" -- and using the McGrath Foundation's logo to "lend legitimacy to its sexual objectification of women". 

"Breast cancer survivors take these 'pinkified' sexed-up campaigns personally. They survived, but for many their breasts didn’t," she said. 

But Honey Birdette's Managing Director Eloise Monaghan hit back, saying the claims were "ridiculous" and "highly offensive" to the model in the image, and women in 2019.

"The women is not sexually objectified. She is a model that is empowered by the product that she is wearing and that we sell in-store," Monaghan told 10 daily.

"In order to sell it (like any other retailer), we need to show it."

Image: Twitter

It's not the first time Honey Birdette and Collective Shout have clashed over what they classify as sexist or pornified representations of women in advertising.

"Why are we teaching young girls and women to be ashamed of their bodies? The female form is not a matter of vulgarity or indecency," Monaghan said.

She claims Collective Shout has attempted to create controversy out of a charitable fundraiser, adding Honey Birdette has supported the McGrath Foundation for the past three years.

"My aunt died of breast cancer, one of our 'Honeys' battled if for years at a young age," she said.

She added the retailer chose to blur out the model's nipple because the image was attached to a charitable cause.

But Liszewksi accused Honey Birdette of capitalising on the McGrath Foundation’s good name. 

Image: Twitter

But Monaghan claims she and Honey Birdette are not going anywhere.

"We are here to empower women and we are going to continue to do that," she said.

Contact the author ebrancatisano@networkten.com.au