Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday 14 April 2008

ASA dismisses complaints against "Some people are gay. Get over it!"

At the end of February I wrote a post about the "Some People are gay. Get over it!" poster campaign being run by Stonewall.

Predictably enough, this poster campaign generated a significant number of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on all sorts of [spurious] grounds, generally from people with a 'religious' axe to grind, in short 'homophobes'. I am pleased to read that the ASA has rejected all these complaints and the full ruling reproduced below is shown on the Facebook campagining page:

ASA dismisses complaints against "Some people are gay. Get over it!"

The Advertising Standards Authority has refused to uphold any of the 54 complaints it has received about the "Some people are gay .Get over it!" billboard campaign. Complaints about the 600-billboard campaign will not now prevent it being re-run later this year.

The ASA said in its ruling: ‘Although some people might disagree with the advertiser’s approach, the ad did not contain language or imagery that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, or particular offence to heterosexuals or religious groups. The ad did not imply that heterosexual people were homophobic, and did not promote homosexuality as an attractive lifestyle choice or as taking advantage of issues arising from children’s sexuality for political gain.’

Six hundred billboard panels, donated by Titan Outdoor Advertising, were displayed across the UK in February. The visual was developed by Warwick Worldwide in collaboration with 150 secondary school pupils and teachers for Stonewall’s Education for All campaign.

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive, says: ‘We’re delighted at the ASA’s decision. This was a carefully-designed campaign which has had a significant impact. We’ve received supportive messages from teachers and young people across the country saying it has helped them raise the issue of homophobic bullying in their schools for the first time. This sort of bullying, which blights the lives of young people, has festered in the past precisely because it has been invisible. ’

Among the complainants, seven claimed the ad was ‘inappropriate for display where it could be seen by children’. Five objected that the ad was ‘particularly offensive to Christian and other religious groups’. Two objected that the ad was offensive because it discriminated against heterosexual people and implied that all heterosexuals were homophobic.

The ASA ruling means that the campaign can be run again later in the year. Quite frankly the fact that the original campaign provoked the number of hostile reactions it did shows just how necessary this campaign is. When such campaigns no longer attract the negative feedback this one did the first time around, that will be the time to declare that campaigns like this are no longer necessary. Meantime it is quite obvious that the simple message that:
"Some people are gay. Get over it!"

is still one that people need to hear.

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