A series of billboards by a Polish artist showing two men holding hands have been rejected in the US for being too controversial.

The images, by Karolina Bregula, were part of the Real Art Ways’ new exhibition of contemporary Polish art, and were supposed to be displayed on billboards, but Lamar Outdoor Advertising of Hartford is refusing to run the images.

After initially agreeing to do the project in Hartford and New Britain, the advertising company rejected Bregula’s images, and refused to run them on the billboards, allowing two text-only billboards by another artist that didn’t have images.

Lamar’s regional vice president and general manager, Steve Hebert, stated that the company was concerned that the images could be perceived as controversial, and perhaps be marked by graffiti.

When asked if he had any groups in particular in mind, Mr Hebert said he did not.

Real Art Ways’ Executive Director Will Wilkins, accused the company of bigotry, ” To make a decision like this based on the anticipated actions of bigots, does a real disservice to the gay and lesbian community and the broader community as well.”

Marek Bartelik, guest curator of the show, says the images are no more provocative than “a print ad for the Gap .”