Antonia Zerbisias, Columnist, Broadsides, The Toronto Star

Broadsides by Antonia Zerbisias

Antonia Zerbisias, columnist for the Toronto Star’s Living section, has been telling people what she thinks ever since she could open her mouth. Her career ambition as an opinionator dates back to Grade 9 when a cartoon commentary on a teacher resulted in her suspension from high school. The principal sent her home with a note calling her “rude, obstreperous and bold.” Her parents were neither amused, nor surprised. Once she was punished for being that way. Now she makes it pay. And, because she can take it as well as dish it out, she wants to hear what you have to say. Fire away!


In her “Broadsides” column of April 28, 2009 she reveals that “the brilliant anti-woman abuse ad starring Keira Knightley, the one I touted earlier this month, has been banned from television in the UK for being ”too violent.” It may only be telecast if the most relevant scenes are snipped.


The gripping ad shows the actress returning home from a film set, where she is confronted by a violent boyfriend who accuses her of having an affair with a co-star, before launching into a vicious attack. The disturbing footage ends with Knightley left sprawled on the floor, being repeatedly kicked.

The Cut was made for the charity Women’s Aid, and launched in cinemas at the beginning of this month.

Charities working to combat domestic violence branded the decision by Clearcast, the ad approval body, “pathetic”, arguing that, in banning the advert, it is shielding the public from the reality of domestic violence.

“It seems pathetic. It is really important to raise awareness about domestic violence, and TV gets into people’s homes” said Sandra Horely, chief executive of Refuge, a charity that provides accommodation for women and children escaping from domestic violence.

“Many women who are victims of domestic violence are isolated by their partner, and in these situations TV is very helpful. It is also a great way to reach the public and raise awareness of the issue,” said Ms Horely.

The ad, created by Joe Wright, the director of the films Atonement and Pride and Prejudice, in both of which Knightley starred, has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube. It was hoped that the ad would air on TV this month, but it will now only be seen on British television if scenes showing Knightley being thrown to the floor and kicked are axed.

So let’s play this back, shall we?

Real women are getting beaten up — and killed — by their partners all the time but the media don’t treat it as the epidemic of violence it is.

Fictional women get assaulted by their partners and the media make money off that.

But when a real woman plays a fictional woman getting beaten up to help real women who get beaten up all the time, well, kick that off the air because it might upset somebody.



This dramatic re-enactment of a battering episode has been viewed by at least one million people so far on Youtube, and many more did on BritishTV.



Click on hyperlinks for background info.

~ by artpoped on April 29, 2009.

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