The company behind gay hook-up app Squirt have voiced concern about a decision to pull their advertising in Cardiff – after residents complaints it is “disgusting”.
The poster for the smartphone app Squirt had appeared on bus stops around the Welsh city, picturing two men, one with his shirt open, above the phrase “non-stop hook-ups”.
After residents took to the internet to attack the “disgusting” ads earlier this week, Cardiff city council swiftly pulled them from bus stops.
However, in a statement to PinkNews, the owners of Squirt voiced concern over the decision – given that the ads had been cleared by the Advertising Standards Agency, and given the number of highly sexualised ads depicting women.
Referring to previous instances where ads were banned, the statement says: “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.”
Attila Szatmari of Pink Triangle Press, Squirt’s parent company, told PinkNews: “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.
“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,.
“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.”
A council spokesperson had said previously: “The council has a contract with Clear Channel for the maintenance of bus shelters throughout the city. This includes managing advertising displays.
“Following a complaint about advertising that was considered inappropriate on two bus shelters on St Mary Street and Castle Street, the Council contacted Clear Channel and the posters have now been removed.”
It is the latest in a string of incidents for Squirt, which has taken the decision to pursue high-profile public ads following a similar push into mainstream ad space by Pornhub and Tinder.
The app’s ads were previously removed from trains in Canada – after the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) claimed they encouraged gay commuters to “break the law”.
However, the ads were cleared by the advertising watchdog in the Netherlands, despite a number of complaints.