Silence from Heinz as MPs object to gay kiss ban

Tony Grew June 30, 2008
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A group of MPs have signed an early day motion condemning food manufacturer Heinz for withdrawing a TV advert featuring a same-sex kiss.

Meanwhile a petition demanding that the company reinstate the ad has been signed by more than 11,690 people.

So far nine MPs, all Labour, have backed the EDM by Diane Abbott.

It reads: “Millions of children watch depictions of same-sex relationships in soap operas every day … the advertisement was not intended to be a realistic depiction of a same-sex relationship … the advertisement was intended to be humorous.”

The MPs said that Heinz’s decision was ill-considered and likely to offend millions of gay, lesbian and transgender people and called on the company to reconsider its decision.

Last week the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg wrote to the Director of UK Corporate Affairs at Heinz expressing his disappointment at their decision and asking them to reconsider.

“The depiction of a same-sex kiss in this advert was innocent both in tone and content, and I am shocked that you decided to withdraw it,” he wrote.

“The sight of two men kissing affectionately should not be considered offensive or controversial.”

The Advertising Standards Authority received more than 200 complaints about the ad, which showed an innocent peck on the lips between a male New York deli chef, in the role of a ‘mother’ to two kids, and the children’s father.

Heinz has declined to comment further on the row, having issued a press statement more than a week ago.

“It is our policy to listen to consumers,” Heinz said.

“We recognise that some consumers raised concerns over the content of the ad and this prompted our decision to withdraw it.

“The advertisement, part of a short-run campaign, was intended to be humorous and we apologise to anyone who felt offended.”

Any people offended that Heinz removed an advert featuring a gay couple should contact them for FREE on 0800 528 57 57.

Stonewall has called on all consumers, gay and straight, to consider a boycott of Heinz products.

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