THE colourful Wicked Campers vans regularly seen on the Northern Rivers are under fire with calls for the company's founder to "eliminate misogynistic and degrading slogans and imagery" painted on the vehicles.
A petition on the Change.org website had yesterday gathered more than 120,000 supporters after a Wicked Campers' van slogan "In every princess, there's a little slut who wants to try it just once" was said to have "promoted paedophilia" and "resonates very badly with everyone who thinks it's abhorrent to sexually assault a girl, especially by groomed males who think 'she wants it'".
The Australian Senate yesterday unanimously voted to back a motion introduced by Greens Senator Larissa Waters condemning "the sexist, misogynistic and racist slogans" that Wicked Campers has on its vans.
"We're calling out these demeaning slogans that promote sexual violence against women, which tragically is a massive problem in Australia," Senator Larissa Waters said in a statement released ahead of the motion.
The company has previously had a complaint over a "...fat girls are harder to kidnap!" slogan, which was overturned by the Advertising Standards Bureau.
In Byron Bay yesterday, French travellers Max Bartra and Pierre "Kermit" Graveleau, both 22, said they hired their Wicked Campers van in Melbourne four days ago and were told they could not swap their van for another after complaining about the slogans "If sex is a pain in the arse... you're doing it wrong" and "SWAG: Sex with a ginger".
"When we saw the van we thought it was too much; too eccentric for us," Mr Bartra said.
"But we were told we had no choice and had to take this van."
"I think painting the vans is a good idea but some people might have a different sense of humour," Mr Graveleau said.
Wicked Campers last night apologised to the founder of the change.org petition, Paula Orbea, for the offensive slogans and promised to paint them out within six months.
In the meantime, anyone offended by a slogan was invited to paint or tape over it.
"As is often quoted: 'A sense of humour is a sense of proportion'," the ABC quoted from a statement attributed to company director John Webb.
"And in this instance, we admit that we have taken things out of proportion and out of the realms of what is considered to be 'socially acceptable'.
Dad disturbed by "misogynistic and abusive" slogans
FATHER of two girls, Paul Sommers of Mullumbimby, is a local who signed a petition against Wicked Campers slogans after seeing it on Facebook a day ago.
"As a man, a father of two daughters and a partner to a lovely lady I have to say I'm gobsmacked at these truly offensive messages that are displayed on the Wicked Campers," he wrote on Facebook.
"If I was to even swear in public I could be fined yet these messages go much deeper."
Mr Sommers said he signed the Change.org petition because it wasn't the first time he had been offended by a Wicked Camper van's slogan.
Van painted to threaten former Byron journalist
FORMER Byron Bay journalist Lucy Clark says she was personally threatened in a message on a Wicked Camper Van after she wrote an article critical of the company for Brisbane's Sunday Mail.
In an article for the Hoopla, Ms Clark says the company sent a van down to Byron Bay, where she was living, with the message "Dear Lucy ... I can already imagine the gaffa tape on your mouth".
Ms Clark says in her article she was advised by police the company could be charged with threatening to cause her harm, but she chose not to pursue the case.
The company later apologised in an email to Ms Clark claiming the message was painted by an employee in the company's workshop without the owner's knowledge.
"Yeah, right," she says.