Ads featuring same-sex couples smashed and vandalised by homophobes

An ad campaign featuring same-sex couples in the Netherlands has been met with homophobic vandalism and graffiti.

Amsterdam-based fashion company SuitSupply had launched the ad campaign earlier this month, focusing on a number of gay male couples.

But the poster campaign in the Netherlands has not had the warmest of receptions – and dozens of the company’s ads have been smashed, torn, and sprayed with paint.

Some had anti-gay slogans and swastikas daubed over the top of the image.

Speaking to Dutch-language online newspaper, the company’s CEO Fokke de Jong said he was taken aback by the reaction.

He said: “We expected quite some extreme reactions,but not to this extent, and certainly not in the Netherlands.”

The exec added that the company has also had a wave of abusive messages, while the country’s advertising watchdog has also had a number of complaints.

He said: “Many people ask us how to explain these posters to their children. Those are questions we never get when we use a sexually-charged poster with a man and a woman.”

However, the company will not be backing down.

Mr de Jong added: “Thanks to this campaign, a whole new group of customers is discovering us. We have also had [positive feedback], but I understand that the negative comments are more appealing to [talk about].”

He hinted the company would “come up with more campaigns around this theme that not everyone agrees with”.

Pride Amsterdam added: “We sometimes get the question why it is still necessary for a pride to be organised. Here the answer.”

COC Nederland also condemned the vandalism.

The Netherlands is historically one of the most liberal countries in the world on LGBT rights.

It was the first country in the world to introduce same-sex marriage in 2001, and polling shows that more than 90% of Dutch people support gay equality.

However, as with many countries across Europe, there has been a surge in intolerance and far-right extremism in the country in recent years.

The far-right Party for Freedom won 20 seats in the House of Representatives in 2017, making it the second-largest party.