Victoria Beckham has taken legal action against a fish and chip shop in Tyneside, which has used her likeness in an advert claiming that its pizza crusts are thinner than the former pop star. Sidhu Golden Fish and Chips in Battle Hill put their controversial slogan on the back of its delivery van. It shows a caricature of a skeletal Victoria eating an apple and wearing a sash that reads 'Anorexic Fashion Icon'. Text alongside the image reads: "Our new Victoria Beckham Thin Crust only 2mm Thin!!" A spokesperson for the mum-of-four said: "It is highly inappropriate to trivialize such a disorder, and defamatory to be so thoughtless with a person's reputation in this way. Sadly, this is now a legal matter."
The manager of the shop, Soni Sidhu, defended the advert, however, telling ITV: "As the manager and on behalf of all the staff and owners, I would like to state we recognize how serious eating disorders are, and would never make light the seriousness of people with eating disorders. We would like our customers and all people in general to take our advertising in context. We are not a fly-by-night business trying to make a quick buck. Anorexia and any mental illness are very serious."
Marg Oaten, from the anorexia charity Seed, publicly criticised the advert, stating that it "trivializes" the illness, and that it is a "step in the wrong direction". She said: "Twenty per cent of people who suffer from an eating disorder die each year. To trivialize anorexia in a pizza advert is appalling." Citing the "good work" done on mental health in recent years, especially by the royals, she added: "The people responsible for this should hang their heads in shame. The advert puts people at genuine risk. Those who suffer from eating disorders are constantly battling with their feelings and thoughts. They will see the advert and start comparing themselves to the size of Victoria Beckham. These people need to be brought to account. There should be legislation banning this kind of thing."