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The Top Model shows are supposed to be about wannabe models crushing the competition, not animals. So why, then, would an ad for New Zealand’s Next Top Model include footage of a woman in red heels stomping on a bleating stuffed lamb? The commercial is creepily reminiscent of “crush videos”—sick fetish films in which women in high heels stomp on real animals. Crush videos are so disturbing that Congress recently passed a law banning them. Under the law, anyone deranged enough to possess one of the videos can be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.
The ad has New Zealanders in a frenzy: The New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority has been swamped with angry phone calls, but since the commercial aired in Australia, not New Zealand, the authority can’t do anything about it. Now animal advocates are calling on Australia’s Network Ten, which aired the disturbing ad, to pull it off the air and apologize.
New Zealand’s Next Top Model should take a clue from Project Runway and “make it work” without hurting animals—or even pretending to.
Written by Michelle Sherrow