Thursday, June 2, 2011

Controversy at the Bus Stop

I know of two things that are sure to get librarians talking - censorship and social media.

Adshel pulled down these bus stop campaign ads after receiving about 30 targeted complaints from the Australian Christian Lobby:

ACL Queensland director Wendy Francis deemed the ads inappropriate for the space, but conceded the message was OK. Josh Thomas (comedian) tweeted, "Wendy Francis thinks hugging is foreplay. Remember that if you see her hugging her kids."

The gay couple pictured in the ad, supported by about 30 people, organised a protest via Twitter and Facebook in a "matter of hours" ( and made their voices heard outside Adshel's Fortitude Valley office today. The company has since reversed its decision to pull the campaign, concluding that they had "been the target of a coordinated ACL campaign." (Steve McCarthy, Adshel chief exec)

Honestly, there are more provocative ads on daytime TV for perfume. I think the campaign is tasteful, and timely (according to Healthy Communities, more men were diagnosed with HIV in 2010 than in the mid 1980s) and there should be more safe sex messages like it, for both homosexual and heterosexual couples. Sure it's awkward to explain to kids, but that's assuming they recognise the little red packet - they might just see a couple embracing. I've certainly seen more PDA than that, live at the bus stop!

One of the hot topics in my collections development lecture was censorship, and LGBT literature - and literature about sexuality - are just as deserving of shelf space and circulation as other publications. The key is to balance to collection to represent varying points of view, and don't hide the more controversial texts in the restricted area.

I know it's something I'll be paying attention to when I go to work, and when I receive requests from clients, I'll do my best to abide by ALIA guidelines, not make judgments, and provide access to requested materials. I'm a librarian (in training), and I find stuff!


  1. It's ridiculous as to what people will never bat an eyelash at on the TV but will protest loudly about on a bus, when far questionable things take place there as a matter of course.

    In other news, some people are either really bored or very misdirected in life.

  2. Thank for your the post, was hoping to find it, wondering if the same will happened in perth...

  3. I was following this on Twitter while in Brisbane at SLQ, was great seeing the response on social media playing a big part in getting the advertising company to change its mind. The posters had reappeared at bus stops by Friday morning when I went for a walk. Look!

  4. Thanks for the photo, bonitoclub!

  5. don't forget the "Q"! LGBTQ!