British advertising watchdog Clearcast has demanded several cuts be made to Cut, the ad Knightley starred in on behalf of the U.K. charity Women's Aid, claiming the spot's final scenes, in which the star is slapped, pushed to the ground and repeatedly kicked by her boyfriend, is too shocking for TV audiences.
Women's Aid has already stepped forward to defend the ad and its graphic imagery and to denounce the ruling.
"We were very careful to reflect what we had heard from anecdotal evidence," charity spokeswoman Lucy Brown said, adding that the charity has succeeded in raising public awareness and has had a strong, positive response to the spot.
"We have put this forward to Clearcast, with statistics from the Home Office, and other material."
While the ad, directed by Atonement's Joe Wright, is still available on the charity's website and YouTube, where it has been viewed more than 1 million times, Clearcast is refusing to allow the PSA to be broadcast on British TV screens until the footage is edited.