'Roastbusters' title to be avoided

Last updated 16:02 09/11/2013

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Don't reinforce this disgusting "brand", writes Sarah Dunn .

Roast Busters, Roast Busters, Roast Busters. It's a catchy title, but I hop you will think twice about using it after reading this article.

It's a stroke of self-marketing genius, that name. The Roast Busters are a group of 17 and 18-year-old boys from Auckland whose story begins and may yet end with a publicity campaign. They were busted late last week for boasting online about targeting girls as young as 13 for drinking and group sex.

TV3 reported that the group maintained a Facebook page for more than five months, sending out text and videos where they bragged in very specific terms about all the girls they "roasted".

Members Beraiah Hales and Joseph Parker also had Ask.fm pages to keep the flow of information going.

Since the story broke, the scandal and outrage based around the boys has grown bigger and bigger.

Multiple stories on national news sites have come out each day, and the gist of the situation has penetrated as far as the United States by way of feminist websites The Frisky and Jezebel, as well as CNN.

The owner of Roast Busters Sandwich Ltd in the United Kingdom quickly changed its name after his Facebook page was inundated with abusive posts.

If you hadn't figured it out by now, the name Roast Busters is a really crude pun. "Spit-roasting" is a slang term for a sexual act where two males team up to service one female.

When the boys from Auckland appropriated this, they made the term even more casual by shortening it to "roast". This is what they mean when they talk about "roasting" somebody.

The "Busters" bit is a simple reference to the 1984 kids' movie Ghostbusters. Hilarious.

Not only does the Roast Busters name directly reference what the group is all about, it makes a joke out of it, trivialising the experiences of all the girls who have been hurt and humiliated by their revelations. If I'm sick to death of seeing it around, how must the boys' victims feel when that smug, sniggering title is splashed across every news outlet daily?

It's important that this story continues to receive wide coverage, because it's allowing a vital discussion about the way rape culture is perpetuated in New Zealand to take place. However, by continuing to use the name these boys chose for themselves, we are choosing to work with their marketing strategy and reinforce their brand. Did the victims have any control over their image when those boys read out their names online? No, they did not. The Roast Busters deserve to feel the same.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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