Ads featuring same-sex couples smashed and vandalised by homophobes
An ad campaign featuring same-sex couples in the Netherlands has been met with homophobic vandalism and graffiti.
Amsterdam-based fashion company SuitSupply had launched the ad campaign earlier this month, focusing on a number of gay male couples.
But the poster campaign in the Netherlands has not had the warmest of receptions – and dozens of the company’s ads have been smashed, torn, and sprayed with paint.
Some had anti-gay slogans and swastikas daubed over the top of the image.
Speaking to Dutch-language online newspaper NU.nl, the company’s CEO Fokke de Jong said he was taken aback by the reaction.
He said: “We expected quite some extreme reactions,but not to this extent, and certainly not in the Netherlands.”
The exec added that the company has also had a wave of abusive messages, while the country’s advertising watchdog has also had a number of complaints.
He said: “Many people ask us how to explain these posters to their children. Those are questions we never get when we use a sexually-charged poster with a man and a woman.”
However, the company will not be backing down.
Mr de Jong added: “Thanks to this campaign, a whole new group of customers is discovering us. We have also had [positive feedback], but I understand that the negative comments are more appealing to [talk about].”
He hinted the company would “come up with more campaigns around this theme that not everyone agrees with”.
Pride Amsterdam added: “We sometimes get the question why it is still necessary for a pride to be organised. Here the answer.”
COC Nederland also condemned the vandalism.
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The Netherlands is historically one of the most liberal countries in the world on LGBT rights.
It was the first country in the world to introduce same-sex marriage in 2001, and polling shows that more than 90% of Dutch people support gay equality.
However, as with many countries across Europe, there has been a surge in intolerance and far-right extremism in the country in recent years.
The far-right Party for Freedom won 20 seats in the House of Representatives in 2017, making it the second-largest party.