KFC’s ad parodying a shark attack on Australian surfer Mick Fanning has angered the three-time world champion’s mother.
The ad aired in South Africa, where Mick Fanning was attacked in a competition in July.
In it, an actor who resembles Mick Fanning surfs a wave holding a computer-generated shark over his head.
Mick Fanning’s mother Elizabeth Osborne, who watched the attack unfold on live TV, 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,” Elizabeth Osborne 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,” she said.
Elizabeth 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.
Mick 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.
Mick Fanning escaped injury. The tournament was called off soon afterwards.
Elizabeth 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 commercial.
A KFC Australia 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.”
Australian surfer Mick Fanning has vowed to return to surfing despite fighting off a shark during this year’s J-Bay Open in South Africa.
Mick Fanning, 34, described his terrifying ordeal to reporters in Sydney on his return home.
He thanked his “warrior” mate and fellow competitor Julian Wilson who swam into the fray to help.
In one light moment, Mick Fanning was asked if he had a message for the shark.
He replied: “Thanks for not eating me.”
“I guess someone was looking out for me. To walk away from a shark attack with not a scratch on you, it’s a miracle really,” he said.
Mick Fanning was the defending champion at the tournament at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and a three-time world champion.
Dramatic footage of the encounter on July 19 showed the moment when the shark hit the back of his board.
“It sort of came up and went for the tail of my board,” Mick Fanning said.
“I don’t know why it didn’t bite. It just kept coming back.”
“I was on top of it, trying to put my board in between us,” he said.
“I don’t know if I punched it hard or if they were baby punches. I just went into fight or flight.”
After that, jet-skis and rescue boats arrived to pick Mick Fanning up.
Julian Wilson, also a competitor at the event, paddled towards Mick Fanning when he saw the shark.
“I came over the wave, praying he would be there and not … with blood everywhere,” he told reporter at the same press conference.
“The worst case scenario is in your head.”
Mick Fanning said he would return to surfing, and to the J-Bay event, but it may take some time.
“I’m sure I’ll go surfing [soon], surfing has given me so much, it’s something that gives me peace, I’m sure I’ll go back out … I’m quite anxious to get back home,” Mick Fanning said according to the Guardian.