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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Flood of complaints over South Africa's first TV commercial showing two gay men kissing; TV channels reluctant to broadcast ad deemed too risque.


Complaints have flooded in over South Africa's first TV commercial showing two gay men kissing and ending with a condom taken out.

The advertisement from wethebrave.co.za that's part of a gay men sexual health campaign, an initiative by the Anova Health Institute and the Elton John Aids Foundation, has triggered a flood of viewer complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

"The aim of the advertisement is not to shock, but to attract our market through creating scenarios to which they relate," says the Anova Health Institute.

"With 4.9 million South Africans – 10 percent of the population – identifying as homosexual, this is a matter of public interest and urgency, and we do not have the luxury of tiptoeing around the issues."

The TV commercial entitled "Kiss" done by the Foxp2 Cape Town advertising agency is the first television ad showing two men kissing and was broadcast for the first time on Sunday 21 February.

It has since triggered a litany of complaints, ranging from "this is offensive and disgusting" to "a step too far", "explain this to my daughter" and "family time" to "inappropriate" and "such an inappropriate ad".

Several TV channels declined to broadcast the commercial and others in the series that's been deemed too risque.

The Anova Health Institute says "we have exercised our right to freedom of expression, contained in clause 16 of the Bill of Rights, which states 'Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom to receive or impart information or ideas".