TfL blames ad agency for ‘gay cure’ bus adverts

The ads were to run on London's bus network
Transport for London has denied responsibility for a ‘gay cure’ advert which was due to appear on the capital’s bus fleet next week. reports that religious groups were to run the campaign which claimed “gay people can become straight.”

The ads were a response to gay rights group Stonewall’s current advertising campaign in favour of gay equality.

Mayoral hopeful Brian Paddick and Ken Livingstone condemned the adverts following the report.

Mr Paddick said: “From personal experience as a gay Christian, I can tell you that it’s much better to be out than in. We should be celebrating the diversity for which London is known for, not denegrating it.”

Ken Livingstone claimed the decision to accept the ads prived “London is going backwards under a Tory leadership that should have made these advertisements impossible.”

Transport for London later announced it had banned the ads and a spokesman attempted to distance the body from the campaign, insisting responsibility for approving it rested with display ad agency CBSO.

The spokesman said it was CBSO who approved the ad “using our Ad Policy” but said TfL “reserve the right to overrule them if we do not agree with their interpretation as in this case.”


  1. says

    Too much buck passing for my liking. TFL has an ad policy that pretty much everyone seems to accept means that this ad shouldn’t have been allowed to run. It’s not good enough to say “CBS Outdoor did it”

    Someone at TFL should be getting a grip on the ad sales team, whether they’re in house or not, and making sure that they understand the “core values” or whatever other management jargon is used to cover this sort of stuff. TFL’s claim that action was taken when it was brought to their attention doesn’t make them look decisive; it makes it look as if they don’t have their eye on the ball.

    I’m glad that these ads won’t be running. But I’m horrified that no one seemed to think there might be a problem until people started shouting at them. It doesn’t say much for the ability of the people in charge to ensure that things are done the way they’re supposed to be.

  2. David Watts says

    So Ken Livingstone claimed the decision to accept the ads proves “London is going backwards under a Tory leadership that should have made these advertisements impossible.”? Really?

    No mention that Boris Johnson himself vetoed the adverts? Even The Guardian is reporting that.

    And this is a precious line coming from Ken Livingstone who invited Yusuf al Qaradawi to London, a man who defends the judicial killing of gays and whom Livingstone defends as a moderate.

  3. Martin Hoscik says

    Hi David

    The Guardian may be reporting that Boris personally stopped the adverts but in three separate answers TfL’s Press Office never once made the same claim.

  4. says

    Wrong, Andrew Boff, most people wouldn’t care or even notice the ads just as most people won’t bother to vote on May 3. It would appear however that most people who write online comments find homophobia distasteful.

    Under Boris the number of executives at TfL on £100k+ has risen from 251 to 379, you’d have thought he could have set one of them to keep an eye on advertising. When an offensive advert has appeared in the past it didn’t get pulled until after it had gone up, perhaps one of Boris’s underlings spotted this one and saw a golden opportunity to make some headlines.

    If Anglican Mainstream and the Core Issues Trust are Christians they’ll forgive Boris for stopping the ads and pray for his soul. More likely they will try something like taking TfL to court, that appears to be the default setting for all slighted “christians” these days.

  5. Robin says

    political correctness is New Mccarthyism.I dont hear anyone championing Single heterosexual Males….Usual suspects need voting Out, some voters are ”Automatons”

  6. says

    Aside from the anti-gay angle, this isn’t just about free speech; it’s about a group promoting therapies that don’t actually work, and can indeed cause emotional or psychological harm. The Anglican Mainstream group talked about helping people to “achieve their heterosexual potential” which is a pretty discredited idea.

    The potential damage may be emotional rather than medical, but frankly I think allowing dangerous therapies like these to be promoted on the side of a London bus is about as sensible as allowing them to be used to push homeopathic cures for cancer; a few people might believe in them, but you’re far more likely to cause real harm to those vulnerable people who fall victim to the crackpots.

  7. says

    Robin, can you explain why you think single heterosexual males need championing? Most of the ones I’ve met seem to manage quite well for themselves. Indeed, in many walks of life, it would seem to be a passport to success – able to work hard, no family commitments to keep you away from the office, free to play the field, and so on.