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E3 Binckbank replaces 'sexist' poster with new design

Joe Robinson
13 Mar 2019

UCI threat of legal action forces E3 organisers into promotional material change

Organisers of the E3 Binckbank Classic, formerly the E3 Harelbeke, have binned their divisive promotional poster featuring two naked women wearing only body paint, replacing it with a new design showing a sick frog laying on its back.

The poster retains the 'Who will crown himself prince in Harelbeke?' tagline but replaces the visual of two women with an animated frog looking the worse for wear.

In releasing the new poster, organisers commented, 'Due to "unforeseen circumstances" our frog fell from his throne… But keep our frog in view on Friday March 29th!'

The change comes after widespread backlash on social media that claimed the original poster was 'sexist' and outdated. 

Cycling's governing body, the UCI, then intervened asking for the withdrawal of the poster from all channels with non-compliance being threatened with 'initiating proceedings with its legal bodies'.

The statements read, 'The UCI has been fighting for several years to promote equity between men and women in cycling through different initiatives such as a charter to promote men/women equality within the UCI’s administration, an equality charter for podium ceremonies, and also different documents demanding the respect of ethical principles for everyone working within UCI Road Teams.'

Being criticised for promotional material that is considered poor taste is nothing new for the E3 organisers. In 2015, the race poster showed a rider reaching to grab the exposed bottom of a podium girl and 2011 saw a Belgian playboy model naked in a field.

In a recent interview with Cycling Tips, E3 Binckbank's head of marketing Dieter Verhaeghe defended the poster commenting 'for me, it feels a little bit weird, all of the negative reactions' while also speculating that the controversy could be down to 'cultural differences.'

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