Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Refreshing change

Here’s something you don’t see every day—well, not in the US, anyway: An Australian company reversed an earlier decision after it realised it had been targeted by a campaign from extremist anti-gay activists.

Outdoor advertising company Adshel removed bus shelter ads in Brisbane aimed at promoting condom use among gay men after they received some 30 complaints. However, they were unaware, until social media got wind of the story, that a religious extremist group, Australian Christian [sic] Lobby, had orchestrated the complaints.

The ACL’s spokesbigot, Wendy Francis, said, "I've been labelled homophobic. This has absolutely nothing to do with gay couples," which is a bit rich considering how notoriously anti-gay the group is. In a Tweet last year, Wendy compared gay marriage to legalising child abuse.

Wendy went on, "This has nothing to do with anything other than another condom ad in a bus shelter, where the children are catching buses to school and billboards where their parents are stopping at lights.” This amounts to the usual radical-right “Christian” hysterical refrain, “think of the—gasp!—children—gasp!”

There is no “sexual imagery” in the ad, despite Wendy’s fevered claims. The fully-clothed men are a real-life couple who are engaged to each other—note the ring, and even the Christian cross one of them wears. The unopened condom by itself is not sexual, and one could argue that it would be best for everyone if children grew up in a world in which the presence of condoms is a non-issue, not something to have a moral panic over.

Adshel issued their own statement, saying: "It has now become clear Adshel has been the target of a coordinated ACL campaign. This has led us to review our decision to remove the campaign, and we will therefore reinstate the campaign with immediate effect."

Kudos to Adshel for doing the right thing, though they probably shouldn’t have been so quick to react to supposed “complaints”. Hopefully, they’ll be more cautious—and suspicious—in the future.

Still, it’s a nice change from the usual course these things take. It’s a victory for common sense, and also a nice way to start GLBT Pride Month.

1 comment:

d said...

That's awesome! (Sorry...really behind on my reading). =)