There is currently no law or ordinance that directly prohibits sexist advertising in public spaces in Brussels, but State Secretary for Urban Planning Pascal Smet wants to change that.
Most existing laws for Brussels relate to discriminatory or sexist behavior directed against a specific person, and not against a group such as women, according to Bruzz.
But there are laws at the regional or federal level that Smet would like to explore adding to a new regional urban planning regulation that he’s calling “Good Living,” which is aimed at defining the layout of public spaces for the future.
In 2019, an ad for Bicky Burger that showed a man punching a woman in the face for bringing him the wrong burger drew backlash from people who were appalled by the company’s flippant depiction of domestic violence.
State Secretary for Equal Opportunities Nawal Ben Hamou successfully filed a complaint regarding the ad back then, and has also voiced support for investigating whether the Brussels government can impose conditions on the content of advertising messages.
The ban would be intended to cover issues with advertisements beyond sexism, to include homophobia and racism, as well.
“Commercial communication should not give the impression of encouraging or condoning violent, illegal or anti-social behavior,” Ben Hamou said.