The Indian government has lodged an official complaint against a controversial lamb ad featuring the Hindu god Ganesha having a meal with other deities.
Meat and Livestock Australia advertisement’s highest-profile complaint was lodged only four days after it was released for public consumption.
The depiction of Ganesha as an elephant-like human sitting next to Jesus and across the table from Buddha didn’t go down well with India’s High Commission in Australia, who want the ‘offensive’ two-minute advertisement taken off air for hurting ‘religious sentiments’.
This portrayal of Hindu god Ganesha has upset the Indian High Commissioner in Canberra
‘The High Commission of India, Canberra, taking note of the protests of Indian community in Australia, have made a demarche to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of Communication and Arts and Department of Agriculture bringing to their notice an offensive advertisement by Meat and Livestock Australia that hurt the religious sentiments of the Indian community,’ it said in statement.
They added Ganesha ‘toasting lamb’ was something ‘the Indian community consider to be offensive and hurting their religious sentiments’.
The Consulate General of India in Sydney is pressuring the MLA to withdraw the ad, the High Commission said.
It stems from Ganesha sharing a table with Jesus, Aphrodite, L Ron Hubbard and Buddha, who asks if they should ‘address the elephant in the room’.
‘It was not funny two and a half thousand years ago, it’s not funny now,’ Ganesha answers poking a trunk at Buddha as the other table guests laugh.
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) released the ad (pictured) on Monday, and by Tuesday it was referred to the Advertising Standards Bureau over an apparent lack of sensitivity in its portrayal of religious leaders and divinities
The advertisement has attracted a huge backlash, with viewers slamming it as ‘ignorant’.
‘This is really disgusting guys! Please bring down this ad. As ignorant as you are, the Elephant God does not eat meat,’ one man said.
‘This is disrespectful to Hindu religion, hurting our sentiments and a senseless campaign. Your team has got it totally wrong by implying Lord Ganesha is having lamb at the dinner table with other gods,’ another man said.
‘For your information, Hindu gods and meat do not go together.’
In the ad, Jesus is joined by an alien, a Buddhist and other gods and goddesses to enjoy a lamb lunch, with an atheist (pictured) announcing: ‘What about we toast to lamb, the meat we can all eat?’
The advertisement (pictured) attracted a huge backlash, with viewers slamming it as ‘ignorant’
Others ‘demanded’ the ad be withdrawn immediately.
‘I demand an unconditional apology and that you revoke this campaign immediately,’ one man said.
In the ad, the Gods poke fun at Ganesha and say ‘So can we address the elephant in the room?’ to which the Hindu god replies ‘It’s not funny, it wasn’t funny two and a half thousand years ago and it’s not funny now’.
The ad also makes a joke at Scientology’s expense.
Since the ad (pictured) was released on Monday, a Hindu group has issued a formal request to the Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to ban the ad
When Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard discovers Aphrodite is ‘famous’ he offers her some lamb and says: ‘Have you ever thought about scientology?’
Hubbard is urged to steer clear of religious based discussion at the table, to which he replies: ‘I gave up dinner with Tom Cruise for this’.
While gods from most religions made an appearance, Muhammad, the prophet and founder of Islam, did not.
The depiction of Muhammad has been a contentious issue, with Islamic teachings prohibiting Muslims from drawing him.
His lack of appearance in the ad prompted backlash.
The depiction of Muhammad has been a contentious issue, with Islamic teachings prohibiting Muslims from drawing him
While there were hundreds of comments calling for the ad to be dumped, some (pictured) were more supportive of its message
‘Poor ad. Obviously scared of offending Muslims, leaving Muhammad out, but all other religions are fair game,’ one man said.
Since the ad was released on Monday, a Hindu group has issued a formal request to the Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to ban the ad.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed said Lord Ganesha was ‘highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling lamb meat for mercantile greed’.
‘Linking Lord Ganesha with meat was very disrespectful and highly inappropriate.’
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed said Lord Ganesha was ‘highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling lamb meat for mercantile greed’
‘Linking Lord Ganesha with meat was very disrespectful and highly inappropriate’ said Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, and some online commenters agreed (pictured)
While there were hundreds of comments calling for the ad to be dumped, some were more supportive of its message.
‘Oh come on, it’s a joke and I find it hilarious, especially the Tinder match and about Tom Cruise,’ one man said.
‘Didn’t you notice the message about ‘getting along together’?’
‘I demand an unconditional apology and that you revoke this campaign immediately,’ one man said (pictured)
Some Facebook users (pictured) did not approve of the ad and took MLA to task over its ‘belittling of religion’
The advertisement was not the first to land Meat and Livestock Australia in hot water.
The MLA released a controversial Australia Day campaign in 2016 in which it spoke about racial insensitivity.
The ad garnered more than 400 complaints but was eventually cleared by the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau.
The advertisement (pictured) was not the first to land Meat and Livestock Australia in hot water