Thursday, 19 October 2006

Bad Cops

Following up on this post a few weeks ago, the Advertising Standards Agency has ruled that a Gay Police Association ad breached advertising rules

An ad placed by The Gay Police Association in the Independent, that used an image of the Bible next to a pool of blood to highlight homophobic attacks, breached decency, truthfulness and substantiation clauses of the advertising code and must never be used again, The ASA ruled this week.


Among the 553 complaints to the ad, headlined ‘in the name of the father’, was that it was ‘offensive and derogatory towards Christians’, could ‘incite violence towards people of faith and fuel prejudice, particularly against Christians’ and ‘implied the teachings of the Bible and Christianity were responsible for and condoned violence against homosexuals’.


They accepted that the imagery and headline used were primarily Christian, but argued that accompanying text made clear the issues referred to were not exclusive to Christianity. They said it was never their intention to castigate and describe all followers of religion as homophobic.

They pointed out, however, that most of the incidents they recorded were weighted against Christianity, while approximately one-quarter referred to Islam and the Muslim faith. The GPA said the campaign was a one-off and they had no intention of using the ad again.

The Independent said they regretted any offence the ad caused.

They said it was published in the Diversity supplement of the newspaper, in an issue devoted to gay rights, timed to coincide with the Gay Pride march. Following complaints from readers outlining the deep offence felt by some, they took steps to try to make amends: they published a letter of complaint they had received and also commissioned an article for the next Diversity section, which included quotes from complainants and the GPA, to air the matter fully. Additionally, they said they had written to each of their complainants apologising for any offence caused.
A (quick) perusual of the full ruling by the ASA, does not make the condamnation of the ad quite as bad as it is reported in the above article...

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