A Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) commercial spoofing Australian professional surfer Mick Fanning’s tussle with a shark in July drew ire from his mother, Elizabeth Osborne, according to a report Sunday. Osborne told Fairfax Media that the commercial was disrespectful and the sport's governing body World Surf League (WSL) planned to take legal action against the food chain.
The 30-second ad was made for KFC’s South Africa division and featured Fanning’s lookalike, showing him in a similar outfit, holding a computer-generated shark with both his hands over his head. The scene is followed by an image of a burger, along with the tagline “next level awesome.”
"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, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. "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," Osborne said.
Fanning’s mother also said that the WSL was mulling legal action to stop airing of the commercial. The governing body declined to comment on the possible lawsuit, according to Fairfax Media.
Siding with Osborne’s opinion was California-based Surfer magazine. “The guy [Fanning] quarrels with a shark on live webcast, sees his life flash before his eyes, and now a fried-chicken chain is poking fun at his close call,” the magazine wrote.
The 34-year-old surfer gained worldwide attention after he was attacked by a great white shark in July during a broadcast of the J-Bay Open in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. Fanning fought the grey dorsal fin, kicking it furiously. Two men on water scooters sped over to the Australian and pulled him from the water. Fanning escaped without significant injury and the tournament was called off following the incident.
Watch the KFC commercial below: