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  1. ITV Report

Beach body ad firm 'receives bomb threat'

The boss of a protein shake firm who have come under fire for its "beach body ready" campaign claims they have received a bomb threat.

Richard Staveley, head of global marketing for Protein World, told ITV's Good Morning Britain there been "violent and physical threats" on the company's head office.

He said: "We've had a bomb threat. That's been reported to the police and is currently being investigated but I can't say anymore than that."

Since the ad, featuring a bikini-clad model with the caption: "Are you beach body ready?" went live, a petition calling for their removal claiming it is negative for people's body image has gathered more than 50,000 signatures.

The ad has been criticised for encouraging women to skip meals in place of a protein shake. Credit: GMB

Protests are even planned in Hyde Park this weekend on Saturday May 3 calling for women and men of all sizes to come down in their bikinis as part of a "Taking back the beach event".

A post on Facebook said: "Do you look like the model on the poster? Awesome, step this way, gorgeous! Are you a size 24? Come on down beautiful! Are you a guy? Get those swimming shorts looked out!

"Beach ready means different things for everyone, and we want to see all of them."

A protest planned for Saturday encourages everyone to get their beach bodies out whatever their shape. Credit: GMB

Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid accused the ad of being "anxiety-inducing" and asked if that was the intention.

Mr Staveley said: "Not at all. We are a health brand and our aspirations are to make the nation healthier, to ask each one of us to set our sights higher, to be fitter, to be healthier."

Asked about the view that the advert suggests women cannot go on the beach in a bikini unless they look like the model in the advert, he said: "There is room for interpretation and there is obviously an irrational minority who have decided to interpret it in that way."

Reid pressed him: "Do you think everybody who objects to it is irrational?... Am I an irrational?"

"No of course not and we're all welcome to our opinion and we have actually engaged in some really constructive conversations with people that have objected," Mr Staveley said.

Read more: Katie Hopkins slams 'chubster' critics of Protein World