THE SPONSOR of Channel 4's My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding has apologised after an advert for the programme was accused of being racist.
Car manufacturer Honda apologised if the poster advert for the documentary, which showed the words "Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier", caused any offence.
The Irish Traveller Movement in Britain and others lodged complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over the use of the word "gypsier", claiming that it was "derogatory and demeaning".
A spokesman said: "We believe it is derogatory, it is offensive and it is demeaning to Romany gypsies and travellers."
Paul Ormond, general manager for corporate press and PR at Honda: "If people did see it that way we are sorry for that - we have just got to be mindful of people's sensitivities."
In a statement, Honda, which sponsors Channel 4 documentaries, said: "Honda provides the adverts during the commercial breaks on the C4 documentary series.
"Honda does not have any editorial say or control in the making or editing of the programme content or the content of the posters surrounding the programmes.
"We do receive an editorial synopsis but on this particular programme no mention was made of any racially sensitive content.
"We would not want to be associated with racist comments on any television programme.
"We have been in touch with C4 to let them know of the complaints regarding this poster campaign and we look forward to strengthening our dialogue with them in future."
A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: "We have an excellent relationship with Honda and are in regular contact with them.
"We have had a small number of complaints about the poster campaign and are confident that all aspects of it fully comply with ASA guidelines.
"We also are in regular contact with the gypsy and traveller communities featured in the programme and posters and have had very positive feedback."
The Irish Traveller Movement in Britain spokesman added that the programme - which features young travellers or gypsies as they prepare to wed - has not been "representative" of the communities to date.
"Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, we believe, is a narrow portrayal of gypsy and traveller communities living in the UK," he said.
Yvonne McNamara, director of the Irish Traveller Movement in Britain, said: "We call on Channel 4 to immediately withdraw their national billboard advertising campaign, which has done so much damage to the reputation of travellers, including exposing traveller children to racial abuse and violence."