Coca-Cola’s same-sex couple ads are ‘mentally, emotionally and morally damaging’, Hungarian authorities rule
Coca-Cola has reportedly been issued a fine by regulators in Hungary over an ad campaign featuring same-sex couples.
The drinks company faced attacks from lawmakers within the dominant Fidesz party in August, over Coke Zero adverts in Budapest featuring pictures of same-sex couples and the slogan “zero sugar, zero prejudice”.
Hungarian media reports that the company has now been issued a fine over the adverts, because of alleged violations of the country’s advertising laws.
According to Index.hu, the local consumer protection bureau claimed that the ads should be banned on the grounds of “the protection of children and minors”.
Officials claim that Coca-Cola ads ‘impair moral development’.
In a letter, officials accused Coca-Cola Hungary of violating provisions of the Advertising Advertising Act that prohibit ads which “impair physical, mental, emotional or moral development”.
The letter ordered the company to “cease advertising that is detrimental to the physical, mental, emotional and moral development of children and minors”.
24.hu reports that the company has been fined 500,000 Hungarian Forint, which is equivalent to £1,300.
The company told the outlet that it is considering its next steps after the decision.
Ads represent the equality of people, company says.
In August, Coca-Cola Hungary had said: “We believe that we are all equal, regardless of nationality, religion, gender, age, ethnic origin, language, hobbies, or viewpoints. We believe that both heterosexuals and homosexuals have the right to love the people they love.
“In our ad campaign, we underlined the principles we represent, such as our belief in the equality of people.
“We believe in a world based on these values, where everyone is free to live happily.”
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Hungarian MP Boldog István previously said he is boycotting the brand and is encouraging others to do the same.
He wrote on Facebook: “Until they remove their provocative posters from Hungary, I will not consume their products! I’m asking everyone!”
A petition to remove the adverts was launched by anti-LGBT campaign group CitizenGo in August, attracting 42,000 signatures.
It claimed: “Homosexual advertising is going on in the streets of the city, in places where children can see it.
“Such advertisements are already commonplace in Western Europe. In our country we can still stop the process.
“Until now, large companies in Hungary have not advertised with open gay content and messages. Do not be delusional, this is a test.
“If Hungarian society accepts this, there will be more and more steps. Posters, commercials, films, rainbow products, etc.
“As we continue to slide down the slope, it will become increasingly difficult to stop.”