While Ash Barty created history by becoming the first homegrown female champion at the Australian Open in 44 years, her ‘beer’ celebration has come under scrutiny.
Barty defeated America’s Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) to become the first Australian, since Chris O’Neil in 1978, to claim the women’s crown.
The three-time champion celebrated the achievement the Channel Nine crew, including former player and her good friend Casey Dellacqua.
During the show, Barty was offered a beer and the player accepted it saying, ‘I’m a Corona girl,’ referring to the brand she was drinking.
The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code, the agency responsible for content and placement of alcohol marketing in Australia, revealed that they had received a complaint against Barty over her behaviour.
In the letter, which was sent on January 31, the tennis star is accused of ‘glorifying alcohol’ and taking part in a publicity stunt to promote Corona.
“There was a large, nicely presented display of Peroni and Corona beers in the TV interview with Ash Barty who just won the tennis final,” the complaint read.
“The host asked the player which beer she would like. All panel members proceeded to drink the beers, mentioning the brand names whilst doing it.
“I think the segment glorified and glamorised alcohol and was very deceptive if it was indeed a paid promotion.
“Why else are they doing it if it wasn’t a paid stunt? It’s poor when many children were up watching the final and Ash Barty is a role model for many girls too.”
Given the nature of the complaint, the ABAC conducted their own investigation into the matter.
“Not every reference to alcohol in everyday life is ‘alcohol marketing’,” ABAC ruled while dismissing the complaint.
“Many Australians enjoy drinking beer responsibly, and we reject the notion that depicting panellists taking moderate sips of beer on television in any way constitutes irresponsible or offensive behaviour.”