Kingdom's Gay Police Association got a slapped wrist Tuesday
from an advertising industry group that found untruthful its
controversial "blood and Bible" newspaper ad placed during
EuroPride in London.
The police group
took out a double-page ad in The Independent
newspaper's June 29 diversity supplement, coinciding with
EuroPride celebrations that weekend.
The ad, which
prominently featured a pool of blood and a blood-colored
Bible, was titled "In the Name of the Father." It claimed
that crimes against gays "where the sole or primary
motivating factor was the religious belief of the
perpetrator" had risen 74% in the year since civil
unions became legal. And it complained of a rise in
homophobic bullying by fellow officers during that time.
Christians got Scotland Yard to investigate whether the ad
was a violation of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act
2006, which targets "offenses involving stirring up
hatred against persons on racial or religious
grounds." Authorities declined to prosecute, however.
More than 550
people complained to Britain's Advertising Standards
Authority, a self-regulatory panel, claiming the ad implied
that the teachings of the Bible and Christianity were
responsible for and condoned violence against gays.
In a judgment
released Tuesday, the advertising group rejected the claim.
that the juxtaposition of passionately held
iconography, such as the Bible, alongside the image of
blood, was likely to be deemed inappropriate by some,"
the ad group stated.
appreciated that the imagery might cause concern, and
notwithstanding the [gay police] argument, we considered
that supporting text clarified the context of the
images and headline: We considered that, overall, the
ad did not imply Christian teaching was responsible
for, or condoned, homophobic incidents."
Standards Authority did, however, agree that the ad could
It found the ad
untruthful in its claim that calls about homophobic
incidents had increased by 74%, and it criticized the police
group for being unable to back up its statement with
The ad group said
in its ruling that "by featuring spilt blood
prominently, the ad suggested that all the reported
incidents involved physical injury."
"On this point,
the advert breached the truthfulness code," it added.
The ad group's
statement said it told the Gay Police Association to
"ensure future campaigns were not presented in a way that
could cause undue offense and also reminded them that
they should ensure the use of imagery did not send
misleading messages to consumers." It also asked the
police group to "ensure any statistics could be
substantiated and reminded them to show supporting
data to the ASA upon request" after it had failed to
Standards Authority spokeswoman said, "This is our
most-complained-about campaign advert of the year so far.
People thought it was portraying Christians in a bad
The Gay Police
Association said that the ad was designed to be
thought-provoking and challenging but that it was never
intended to castigate or describe all religious
followers as homophobic. (U.K./Gay.com)