AdShel to reinstate HIV ads

ADSHEL, the company that provides advertising for Brisbane's bus shelters, has advised it will be reinstating ads in the 'Rip and Roll' campaign.

HIV campaigners were outraged a safe sex promotion featuring a fully clothed, hugging gay couple was pulled from Queensland bus shelters on Monday. 

In a statement at 4pm on Tuesday, Adshel CEO Steve McCarthy said: “it has now become clear that Adshel has been the target of a coordinated Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) campaign.

"This has led us to review our decision to remove the campaign and we will therefore reinstate the campaign with immediate effect.”

Facebook page 'Homophobia - NOT HERE - Adshel Caves to Homophobic Pressure', which is said to be created by one of the men featured in the ad, had reached more than 30,000 fans by 3pm on Tuesday.

Links to christian lobbyists denied

ADSHEL, the company that provides advertising for Brisbane's bus shelters, has responded to complaints that a safe sex promotion featuring a gay couple has been pulled.

In a statement, the company said the ad was pulled as a response to a series of individual complaints to the Adshel Office, Brisbane City Council and the Advertising Standards Bureau.

"All complaints were made by individual members of the public; none were identified as stemming from the Australian Christian Lobby," the statement said.

"Adshel does not have, and never had, any dealings with the Australian Christian Lobby and has not responded to any requests from this organisation.

"Adshel has a commercial relationship with Brisbane City Council and commits itself to dealing appropriately with feedback from the community regarding the style and nature of advertising.

"The decision to remove the posters was made on the basis of the large number of complaints received.

The company also said it did not take any position regarding the views or position of various community groups.

Meanwhile, Facebook page 'Homophobia - NOT HERE - Adshel Caves to Homophobic Pressure', which is said to be created by one of the men featured in the ad, has already reached more than 30,000 fans.

Outrage over HIV ad ban

HIV campaigners are outraged a safe sex promotion featuring a fully clothed, hugging gay couple has been pulled from Queensland bus shelters.

The Queensland Association for Healthy Communities launched its "Rip and Roll" advertisements a week ago and on Tuesday learned they were being scrapped after about 30 complaints.

The adverts feature a black and white image of a gay couple embracing, holding an unopened red condom packet.

It includes the website address and hotline for Healthy Communities, which has been receiving state government funding for sexual health promotion since 1988.

Adshel, the company that provides advertising for Brisbane's bus shelters; Goa Billboards; and the Advertising Standards Bureau were targeted in an orchestrated campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

Healthy Communities executive director Paul Martin said it was extremely disheartening that Adshel had buckled.

"Those of us who have been around fighting HIV in Queensland for a while will remember this kind of reaction from days gone by," he told AAP.

"We certainly don't expect it in 2011."

ACL was trying to have gay people "erased from the public sphere", Mr Martin said.

"It's an extreme minority of people who are very well organised and are able to launch this kind of action," he said.

"The vast majority of Queenslanders support gay and lesbian rights."

ACL Queensland director Wendy Francis said she objected to the sexual nature of the ads, not the fact the couple pictured were gay.

Ms Francis was last year forced to apologise publicly after a Tweet likening gay marriage to legalising child abuse.

Then a Family First candidate for the Senate, she claimed the Tweet was sent from her office, but not by her.

She said the decision by Adshel to remove the ads was a win for parents and children.

"They show two young homosexual men in some sort of act of foreplay," Ms Francis said.

"It's talking about a sexual act and I don't think that's appropriate for the general public.

"If something's not allowed in a children's timeslot on TV, I don't think you should put it on a billboard or where children are waiting for the school bus."

Healthy Communities said 2010 saw a higher number of people diagnosed with HIV than at any time since testing began in the mid-1980s.

With 65 per cent of those diagnoses among gay men, it was more important than ever to talk openly about safe sex, it said.

Topics:  christian gay gay rights health healthy communities hiv

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