KFC shark attack parody advert angers Mick Fanning's mother

October 19, 2015, 12:35pm

Video frame from KFC's parody shark advert

By BBC News

A television advert parodying a shark attack on Australian surfer Mick Fanning has angered the three-time world champion's mother.

The advert for fast-food chain KFC aired in South Africa, where Fanning was attacked in a competition in July. In it, an actor who resembles Fanning surfs a wave holding a computer-generated shark over his head.

Fanning's mother Elizabeth Osborne, who watched the attack unfold on live television, said it was disrespectful. "They've put a lookalike in the video. It really brings back a lot of trauma for everybody who has been attacked by a shark," she told Fairfax Media.

"Some families have had fatalities and some people are still absolutely scarred without limbs. It's disrespectful to them and Mick is not at all happy with that," Ms Osborne said.

Close encounter

Ms Osborne also said the World Surf League (WSL), the sport's governing body, was considering legal action to have the campaign cut short. A WSL spokesperson declined to comment, according to the report.

Fanning was competing at Jeffreys Bay, on the eastern Cape, during the final of the J-Bay Open when he was knocked off his surfboard and into the sea by a shark.

The Australian punched and kicked the shark before being rescued by a lifeguard on a jet ski. Fanning, the defending champion, escaped injury. The tournament was called off soon afterwards. Ms Osborne has said it was "absolutely terrifying" to watch the attack unfold on live television.

KFC South Africa has yet to make any comment, but its Australian counterpart sought to distance itself from the advert.

A spokesman told Fairfax: "The advertisement has been produced in South Africa - KFC Australia is very sensitive to the situation in Australia and this is not the type of ad we would choose to show here."

Mick Fanning (centre) was emotional after he escaped unharmed from the shark attack. Photo by European Photopress Agency