Tom Hardy and Eddie Redmayne's charity ads branded 'poverty porn'

Ben Arnold
UK Movies Writer
(Credit: DEC)

A charity advert for Comic Relief featuring Ed Sheeran, and two others fronted by Tom Hardy and Eddie Redmayne, have been slated as ‘poverty porn’ by an aid watchdog.

The ads, released earlier this year, have been nominated in the Radi-Aid Awards as being among the ‘most offensive’ campaigns of the year for their perpetuation of ‘white saviour’ stereotypes.

Winners are given the Rusty Radiator award (with the Golden Radiator going to the best fundraising campaign).

Hardy’s ad, which found him working with the Disasters Emergencies Committee, was slammed for showing graphic images of starving children ‘devoid of dignity’.

Meanwhile, Eddie Redmayne seen in the DEC’s Africa campaign film was made up of ‘poverty porn and people waiting to be saved’.

(Credit: DEC)

Beathe Øgård, president of the Students and Academics International Assistance Fund from Norway, which organises the charity awards, told The Guardian: “We have been presented with these kind of images since the 1980s.

“They are horrible to watch. People are so used to them that for many they reinforce that feeling of hopelessness and apathy – and even a negative view of development in that nothing is going in the right direction.

“Ed Sheeran has good intentions. But the problem is the video is focused on Ed Sheeran as the main character. He is portrayed as the only one coming down and being able to help.”

Liz Warner, the chief executive of Comic Relief, admitted that it may have lost something in the Sheeran film in the pursuit of being ‘edgy again’.

She told The Guardian that the nomination is ‘constant reminder of the need to stay as relevant as possible going forwards and to give a voice to the people affected by the issues we care about’.

“If we do win this award, I would still like to say thank you to the artists whose support means we have reached mass audiences and raised vital funds for life-changing projects in the UK and around the world,” she added.

The awards take place on December 7.

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