Comedian Wil Anderson has weighed in on the controversy surrounding an ad from independent group Marriage Alliance which takes an anti same-sex marriage stance.
Speaking on 2DayFM breakfast show Dan & Maz this morning, Anderson – who is a big supporter of marriage equality – called the ad and the company behind it “crazy”.
“They’re crazy, because none of those assertions in the ad are backed up with any evidence,” he said.
“There is no evidence to suggest that is it actually detrimental to your children in anyway but you know.
“Essentially the giant ad is a lot of graphs and an iceberg and basically the whole message behind it is: Gay?!…Ewww!” Listen to the full audio here.
The ad sparked controversy over the weekend when reports surfaced networks Seven and Ten had denied the ad air-space. On Friday, Fairfax Media’s The Sydney Morning Herald suggested the networks had “rejected” the ads, however a Seven spokesperson said it was down to a matter of space.
“We could not accommodate their booking request. We didn’t ‘reject’ their commercial,” said the spokesperson for Seven.
A Ten spokesperson said: “As company policy we do not talk about our commercial arrangements, out of respect for our advertisers.”
The SMH article reported Nine was going to air the ad, but only in “selective timeslots”.
B&T has contacted Nine and Marriage Alliance but had not heard back at the time of publication.
A spokesperson for Marriage Alliance Sophie York said in a press release she was outraged the networks weren’t running the ad.
“It is quite shocking that two major TV networks are denying the basic right to freedom of speech and expression on an issue that supports the current law of the nation,” she said.
“The advertisement raises legitimate concerns about rights. In no way does it denigrate any element of society, but raises questions that most Australians we believe would want to see answered.”
The ad is up on YouTube, however the comments have been disabled.
This isn’t the first time an ad negating same-sex marriage has caused an uproar. In March this year SBS pulled an ad that suggested children have no rights when raised by same-sex parents, as the spot was supposed to air during coverage of gay and lesbian celebration event Mardi Gras.
Similarly, B&T recently asked Adland why, if much of Australia is pro on marriage equality – evidenced by many big Aussie brands adding their logo to a growing list of supporters in a full-page ad in The Australian – there are so few gay people in ads.
Psychologist and Cummins&Partners global strategy officer Adam Ferrier believes Australia will start seeing a “gay couple, for a mainstream brand within a television ad within the year”.
However, Jonathan Pease from creative agency Tongue questioned whether brands jumping on the gay bandwagon was in fact doing more damage than good.
“There are two schools of thought – it could be very daring or very dangerous. Are we ready to see an ad with two men waking-up together in bed? I’m not sure we are right now; but certainly in the next five years I can certainly see that happening,” he told B&T at the time.
“Mainstream media and the likes have been showing us gay and lesbian imagery for some time. I think people are increasingly getting used to it, so there’s no reason I can’t see advertisers getting on-board. Again, what brands are brave enough to do it remains to be seen.”