The commercial shows Ms. Theron (who starred recently in "The Astronaut's Wife" alongside Johnny Depp) talking directly to the camera about men in South Africa.
"People often ask me what the men are like in South Africa," she starts. "Well, if you consider: that more women are raped [in South Africa] than in any other country in the world. That one out of three women will be raped in their lifetime in South Africa. That every 26 seconds a woman is raped in South Africa. And, perhaps worst of all, the rest of the men in South Africa seem to think that rape isn't their problem.
"It's not that easy to say what the men in South Africa are like. Because there seem to be so few of them out there."
The commercial for the Rape Crisis & Trauma Center ends with the pay-off line: "Real men don't rape."
The ad was created by the Jupiter Drawing Room, Cape Town.
Four objections were lodged against the commercial, including one from a group of 27 Afrikaans-speaking men who interpreted it to say that it "called all men rapists."
After deliberation, the standards authority found the spot created the impression that all South African men are questionable; created a negative perception that all men are complacent about rape; and "discriminates on the basis of gender."
It asked the ad agency to make some amendments to the script, but insisted it did not ban the commercial.
The agency and the Rape Crisis & Trauma Center have refused to make any changes and is appealing the decision.
The outpouring of anger in the media took the ad standards group by surprise. The Sunday Independent newspaper used a story headlined the "Sexist shame of rape advert ban." The Sunday Times named Peter Vundla, chairman of the ASA's standards committee, which made the decision, "Mampara (blundering dolt) of the