Things to make you go [insert name here] SMASH!

An Adshel poster in Brisbane has been taken down after complaints about its content. The ads are for a Healthy Communities initiative, aimed at getting more young homosexual men to use condoms and practise safe sex. If you haven’t seen them you are probably wondering what was in these ads to cause so much outrage. Well, prepare to be shocked – they showed a young man hugging another young man and about to kiss him on the neck. The young man doing the hugging is holding a red condom packet in his hand and the slogan is “Rip and Roll”. Shocking isn’t it? Apparently, according to Family First, that is foreplay.

A number of the complaints have raised the idea that children shouldn’t be seeing this type of thing. Won’t some one think of the children? Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid that they might ask what those men are doing? Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid that there might just be a child out there who for the first time thinks “I’m like them, I’m okay. There must be other people like me out there. I’m not weird, I’m not sinful, I’m just me.” Because we wouldn’t want that happening now would we?

Here are some of the complaints.

My response to some of the complaints regarding this ad:
“It presexualises children” – unlike clothing for young girls which just sexualises them.
“It encourages homosexuality” – by showing children who may be homosexual/queer/anything other than het that there are indeed homosexual people in the world and children who are het that it’s okay not to be het.
“I find it offensive…and the man is wearing a cross” – maybe he finds your version of Christianity offensive and prefers his own?
“…promoting this lifestyle…” – oh FFS…because if everyone shuts up about it and never speaks of it it will just go away. Yeah, nup.
I could go on but I won’t. I’m sure you get the picture.

The other thing that makes me want to SMASH today:
Anti-abortion protesters filming people attending clinics. Apparently it is not illegal. They claim that the footage is to protect them against violence. Two things: a) if it’s that dangerous, don’t do it. Go and volunteer at a charity that helps youth on the streets or single parents or something. Look after children that already exist and desperately need your help.
Or b) have the camera focussed on yourselves. You will still be able to film any potential violence against you, but without invading the privacy of others.

Categories: culture wars, health, media, parenting, relationships, religion, social justice

Tags: , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. I bet there’s hardly a peep out of these folks about posters that show pornified women (alone) pouting at the camera while advertising condoms. I’m sure they don’t like them much, but they probably don’t make even a tenth as many actual complaints. But two young guys looking affectionate? The horror!
    As for the abortion-clinic filming, their sanctimonious gobshitery disgusts me.

  2. A fully clothed hug and a kiss in the presence of a condom packet is foreplay? Thank gods I never went out with anyone who might associate themselves with Family First is all I can say to that. I’ll have to be more careful about PDAs with my partner in the supermarket in future (after all, if one single condom packet makes a kiss and a hug foreplay, clearly having a fully clothed kiss and a hug in front of the actual condom display in the “health products” aisle at Woolies would be equivalent to a full on orgy of Bacchanalian proportions).
    I also note that a number of the complaints appear to have extremely similar text (right down to the presentation of some words in ALLCAPS, and the choice of words to be presented in this manner).
    As to whether it’s somehow “offensive”, well, I’m clearly not a good person to ask about such things, since I grew up in the 1980s, when we had the “Grim Reaper” AIDS prevention ads, and the Durex “buy vertical blinds” condom ads, along with actual TV shows promoting condom use (on consenting fruit and veg – carrots, cucumbers, bananas) shown in prime viewing time in the name of public health. This has obviously warped my tiny mind, since I’m now strongly of the opinion that teenagers really should be shown as much public (and pubic) health propaganda as can be reasonably managed by the various condom manufacturing companies, since it deals with the joint problems of disease prevention and pregnancy prevention in the one bloody hit!

  3. Two fully clothed adult men! What is the world coming to when we have to look at them on a poster rather than barely clothed, heavily photoshopped young women? Cats and dogs, living together!

  4. According to Catherine Deveny on Twitter, sufficient counter-pressure has been exerted to get the ads put back up:

    Brothers and sisters of social media because of your support on Twitter and Facebook #Adshel have put the #safesex ads back up. Well done.

  5. Mumbrella has more:

    In a press release this afternoon, the company said:
    “Following ACL Queensland director Wendy Francis’ acknowledgement that the complaints received by Adshel, Brisbane City Council and the Advertising Standards Bureau regarding QAHC’s campaign have been orchestrated by the Australian Christian Lobby, Adshel is reinstating the ‘Rip and Roll’ campaign.
    Adshel earlier responded to a series of complaints by removing the campaign from its media panels yesterday. None of the complaints indicated any liaison with the ACL, so Adshel was made to believe that they originated from individual members of the public.”

  6. As a few people have now pointed out on Twitter, Adshel only pulled the ads because it became obvious that the dozen or so complaints they received were orchestrated?
    So does this mean that if they get another dozen or so complaints on something else that appears less orchestrated, then that’s all it will take in future for them to pull any ad?

  7. I hug people, male and female, all the time. Sometimes I even kiss them. It never occurred to me that this was foreplay. I’ll never touch anyone again. Forgive the sarcasm.

  8. I’m sorry but that is just an absolutely beautiful photograph. There are a lot of people in the world who need to have a coke and a smile…

  9. Tim Burrowes at Mumbrella: Adshel was stupid pulling the gay sex posters. Not evil

    The company could have certainly done with better PR advice.
    As a result, this has become a classic case study in the speed at which social media works.
    My guess is that when the complaints – which with hindsight were clearly orchestrated by a Christian lobby group – started rolling in, the organisation panicked slightly. It’s decision to pull the ads wasn’t so much anti-gay; it was anti-controversy. While that’s not something to feel proud of, it’s not morally repugnant either. The company is not the evil one it is being portrayed as.
    Adshel isn’t talking, so I’ve no idea at what level of seniority the original decision was made at. But I’m willing to bet they didn’t spend as long thinking it through as they wished now.

  10. In things that are awesome; Goa Billboards, who are responsible for the billboard Rip n Roll ads (as opposed to the bus shelter ads), not only refused to cave into the ACL/complaints in the first place, but have put up billboards of their own, with slogans including “Our God loves everyone gay and straight” and “We embrace all of the community, gay and straight”. Binary, but a great start.
    I also love this quote from Goa’s Managing Director, Chris Tyquin:

    “The ACL’s claim that these men are engaging in an act of foreplay is drawing a long bow. If that’s foreplay, then clearly I’m doing it wrong.

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