|The poster causing all the fuss|
The posters had been up for about a week when Adshel (the company who owns the billboards the posters were posted on) stated they'd be removing them because of a series of individual complaints that they were inappropriate. They denied it was the work of a single organisation and that the 30 complaints were enough to necessitate their removal. Soon after they released this info Wendy Francis, the Queensland director of the Australian Christian Lobby, stated that in fact the complaints were the result of a campaign they, the ACL, had launched. She said their complaint was that the poster was pornographic (apparently the picture depicts foreplay) and is unsuitable for children to see.
You know what, fair enough, I completely agree that many billboards are way too sexual and needlessly so (why does my favourite perfume need a sex scene to sell it to me?) but this poster is not one of them. Many of Wendy and the ACL's fans state that they aren't being homophobic, they're simply appalled at the idea of such sexualised images being broadcast in front of their kids, adding to the early sexualisation of our children. Again I'd say fair enough, EXCEPT that this is the only billboard* they've complained about. Below are some of the billboards that have been in Brisbane** over the past year or two which received zero complaints from the ACL yet fit within the complaint parameters set out by the ACL.
As much as the ACL pretend it isn't the homosexuality in the poster they're offended by their singling out of this one poster makes it kind of obvious, as does their statements on their website and in the letters their little campaign sent in to Adshel.
“The only reason homosexual men need condoms is because their sexual intercourse carries with it a very high risk of serious disease. To promote this lifestyle to our youth is NOT in the interests of HEALTHY COMMUNITIES.”
“Homosexuality is a destructive practice in our society. I work in the health care industry and have seen firsthand the devastation and misery and death that result from homosexual and bisexual practices.”
When news broke that they were taking down these posters the public rose up and demanded that they reinstate the images (something like 40 000 complaints about taking them down compared to the 30 about keeping them up!) and launched a viral campaign on facebook and twitter (using the hashtag #adshel). By the end of the day Adshel stated they were reinstating the posters because they had no idea the campaign was actually orchestrated by ACL and therefore the complaints were deemed illegitimate. So hurrah, the battle was won!
Show your support by joining the 'event' Homophobia - not here - Adshel caves to homophobic pressure. It's an online campaign so it doesn't matter where in the world you are, it was set up by one of the men on the poster (you can read his story in the info section) and send them a message of support and solidarity!
While you're there 'like' the 'Rip and Roll' campaign itself. Positive results of HIV and AIDS was at an all time high in 2010 in Queensland and these posters are just a single part of the campaign trying to encourage safe sex (amongst all people not just homosexuals).
*I should also mention here these aren't really billboards, they're about A1 in size and can't be noticed by people driving in cars, only people sitting at the bus stop will get any real idea of the detail of the posters. This is also only a small fraction of their advertising, the majority of these posters are found in the bathrooms of clubs and bars.
** These pictures are the actual billboard campaigns used in Brisbane but the images may not be from Brisbane