Australia's Wicked Campers Company Deserves to Be Boycotted for Its Bigoted Messages
Normally when you think about renting a camper, you think of something that will get you far away from the awfulness of modern society into a simpler, nicer place. You don't generally think of driving around in a vehicle with a racist, sexist, and/or homophobic message painted onto the back. But if you're renting from Australia's Wicked Campers company, that's what you'll find yourself getting.
The company primarily rents camper vans to young travelers on a budget, mostly young men. A company rep stated that “We don’t try to be controversial. It’s not our goal. We just do what we love and just have fun." But when your vans say things like "It's better to be black than gay because at least you don't have to tell your parents!" or "I'm not gay so don't rear end me!" or my personal (least) favorite, "A Wife: an attachment you screw on the bed to get the housework done" — by then you've gone beyond having fun and are just being gross.
I never totally understand how people who are recycling tired sexist, racist, homophobic tropes that have been used for centuries somehow think they are being edgy or innovative, but I suppose Wicked Campers at least deserves credit for managing to express multiple forms of bigotry in a single message. For instance, in the "better to be black than gay," slogan, they imply that there is something wrong with both of those identities, by saying that people would ever want to choose between the lesser of two evils.
Needless to say, plenty of people are not happy with these vans. A petition to the company's founder John Webb, asking him to discontinue such messages, has already reached over 120,000 signatures. The petition was started by a parent whose 11-year-old daughter was upset by the "In every princess, there's a little slut who wants to try it just once," message after seeing it painted on a van while the family was driving.
"This particular phrase promotes pedophilia and resonates very badly with everyone who thinks it's abhorrent to sexually assault a girl, especially by groomed males who think 'she wants it,'" the petition says. It also names several other Wicked Camper messages it finds offensive, including "Fat girls are harder to kidnap" and "Save the whales, harpoon a Jap."
Yeah...this company just gets classier by the minute.
The Queensland government is gearing up to debate what to do about the company later this month, while some people are also arguing that the vans constitute a form of advertising and therefore should be subject to the rules that govern ads in Australia, which places restrictions on offensive content.
If there's any justice in this world, though, people will just stop renting these offensive campers and the company will be forced to either clean up its act or go out of business. Because companies that go out of their way to offend people really have no place in the modern marketplace.