Cranium, a signage company in Auckland, New Zealand, has faced severe criticism from the LGBT+ community and their supporters following what has been described as a transphobic and tasteless billboard that appeared to mock both Caitlyn Jenner, and the transgender community as a whole.
The billboard featured the Vanity Fair cover image of Caitlyn Jenner, photoshopped to have her wearing a Santa hat, with the slogan 'I hope your sack is fuller than mine this Christmas. Merry Christmas from Cranium.'
The advertisement received hundreds of complaints within hours, and has been reported on globally, leading the company to censor the image.
Phillip Garratt from Cranium has apologised on Facebook for any offense caused, saying that the billboard was 'poor judgement' on Cranium's part. He added that 'Cait is welcome at my house with my family any time.'
Cranium attempted to appease those who had taken offense at the advert by donating $1,000 to the LGBT+ organisation Rainbow Youth.
Rainbow Youth welcomed the donation, but warned that 'jokes' about the transgender community are not only insulting, but dangerous. A spokesperson for the group commented that 'jokes' such as this will only further marginalise the transgender community, and encourage others not to take transgender issues seriously.
Some people have publicly ridiculed both the apology and the donation, saying that the donation is simply an attempt to 'buy off' the LGBT+ community and an attempt to save face and lessen the damage to the company’s reputation.
Cranium may be facing more than just public criticism, however, as it transpires that Cranium did not obtain permission to use the copyrighted image of Caitlyn Jenner, and that the billboard breaches copyright law. It may also fall under the Fair Trade Act, as it could be seen as misleading people into thinking that Caitlyn Jenner authorised and endorsed the advert when she did not.