Brisbane gay safe sex campaign ads reinstated after uproar over their removal

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A safe sex campaign for gay couples in Brisbane, Australia, has been reinstated after it became clear the majority of complaints that led to its removal yesterday were orchestrated by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

The campaign, which takes the form of posters on bus shelters, shows a same-sex couple holding a condom packet and features the tagline ‘Rip & Roll’.

But according to ABC News Australia, after Adshel, Brisbane City Council and the Advertising Standards Bureau received 30 complaints about the ads yesterday, they took steps to remove the posters.

However, their removal sparked an even bigger furore online, which ultimately led to the campaign re-appearing on the city’s bus shelters.

Shortly after, the advertising company Adshel issued the following statement: “It has now become clear Adshel has been the target of a coordinated ACL campaign.

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

A spokeswoman for ACL, Wendy Francis, said the issue was about the frank reference to condoms, not homosexuality.

“I’ve been labelled homophobic. This has absolutely nothing to do with gay couples,” she said.

“This has nothing to do with anything other than another condom ad in a bus shelter, where the children are catching buses to school and billboards where their parents are stopping at lights.

“I will continue to fight sexual imagery in our outdoor advertising until we can get it removed.”

One Twitter user said that the whole debate around the campaign would likely give it a boost, while another said they agreed with the ACL that the campaign was too candid for public space.

Michael O’Brien, one half of the couple featured in the advert, said: “We are real people, and this campaign is about real people. We have been together for six-and-a-half years, we’ve been engaged since August last year, and just last week we were approved to become foster parents, which will now be happening very soon.

“We are real people, with a real life, in real love.”