A campaign for HIV prevention targeting gay men in the Australian state of Queensland has been reinstated following an online backlash against the company that removed the ads in response to complaints from an antigay Christian group.
The Herald Sun reports that more than 25,000 joined a Facebook group to support the “Rip and Roll” campaign from the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities. The campaign, which features two embracing men and an unopened condom package, was yanked from Brisbane bus stops this week by advertising company Adshel after complaints by the Australian Christian Lobby.
In announcing its turnaround, Adshel officals claimed they did not know the complaints came from the Christian group.
“Announcing their backflip this afternoon, the company said it had changed its mind because it did not realise it had been subjected to a campaign from the Australian Christian Lobby to remove the posters,” noted the Herald Sun.
A Wednesday press release from the company said, “Adshel earlier responded to a series of complaints by removing the campaign from its media panels yesterday. None of the complaints indicated any liaison with the ACL, so Adshel was made to believe that they originated from individual members of the public.”
ACL Queensland executive director Wendy Francis had denied any objection to the gay content and said she was opposed to the sexual nature of the ads. Last year Francis was forced to apologize for sending a homophobic tweet comparing marriage equality to child abuse while running for the Australian senate.
The backlash against Adshel included a protest outside its offices and the Facebook campaign, which Michael James, who appears in the ad with his partner, asked people to join.