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February 09, 2016

Squirt.org Ad Ban Raises Questions of Discrimination, Obscenity

CARDIFF, Wales––Public advertisements for Squirt.org continue to come under fire, as the newest controversy is currently underway in Cardiff. Earlier today, the Cardiff council banned ads from the international gay cruising and hookup website and removed posters from bus stops in the Welsh capital city. The ads, featuring two gay men, one with his shirt open, were removed despite being approved by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The removal of the Squirt.org poster and ban on subsequent ads is the most recent incident involving complaints against the company’s advertising practices. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) recently removed Squirt’s ads, while the Netherlands’ Advertising Standards Board ruled in favor of the ads despite public complaints. The continual backlash to the Squirt.org advertisements raises numerous questions on sexuality, discrimination, and obscenity. In each instance, the advertisements in question were different, yet they all featured two or more men in various states of undress, though never nude. The men are lightly touching in a manner implying sexual familiarity, while the text promotes Squirt’s service as a way to find “non-stop hookups” or gay cruising opportunities. “Disgusting” and “inappropriate” were two of the words used by Cardiff residents when describing the posters. “What is not known in regards to each reaction to our ads is whether people are taking exception to the promotion of casual sex or gay casual sex,” said Attila Szatmari, digital business director for Pink Triangle Press, Squirt’s parent company. “Either way, it is very concerning and touches upon a larger issue in society. “Our campaign has run in many cities in the UK, including Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London, so we are very disappointed to see the reaction of the Cardiff council based on complaints from a few residents,” added Szatmari. “Our ads have been approved by the ASA, and we’ve been adhering to those guidelines completely. With this in mind, we will continue to do everything we can to get our advert seen.” Earlier this year, high-profile advertising and promotional campaigns from Squirt.org made headlines in Miami, Toronto, San Francisco, and Chicago. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) recently removed Squirt.org posters from its subway cars and stations despite its policy of tolerance and equality, as reported on by BuzzFeed.com. Bus stop advertisements for Squirt.org were also removed in Miami in 2014, as documented by Miami’s Channel 10 News. One of the posters was even vandalized, though the culprit remained unknown until a viral video hit the Internet in September, 2015. In the video, a man identifies himself as a veteran of the United States Marine Corp, before he trashes the poster for being “disrespectful.” DailyXtra.com reported on the correlation between the incident in 2014 and the video. Wales Online first reported news of the Cardiff council ban. To read the article, click here.

 
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