Squirt.org, the cruising and hook-up site for gay, bi and curious men, continues to make headlines with its advertising campaigns, the latest controversy taking place in the Welsh capital city, Cardiff. Earlier last month, Cardiff Council removed and subsequently banned Squirt.org ads from bus stops in the city.
The ads, which featured two men, one with his shirt open, were removed despite being approved by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). It’s the most recent incident involving complaints against the company’s advertising practices and raises numerous questions on sexuality, discrimination and obscenity.
In each instance, the advertisements in question were different, yet they all featured two or more men in various states of undress, though never nude.
The men are lightly touching in a manner implying sexual familiarity, while the text promotes Squirt’s service as a way to find ‘non-stop hook-ups’ or gay cruising opportunities. “Disgusting” and “inappropriate” were some of the words used by Cardiff residents when describing the posters.
“What is not known in regards to each reaction to our ads is whether people are taking exception to the promotion of casual sex or gay casual sex,” said Attila Szatmari, Digital Business Director for Pink Triangle Press, Squirt’s parent company. “Either way, it’s very concerning and touches upon a larger issue in society.”
He added, “Our campaign has run in many cities in the UK, including Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, so we’re very disappointed to see the reaction of the Cardiff Council based on complaints from a few residents. Our ads have been approved by the ASA, and we’ve been adhering to those guidelines completely.
With this in mind, we will continue to do everything we can to get our advert seen.” Earlier this year, high profile advertising and promotional campaigns from Squirt.org made headlines in Miami, Toronto, San Francisco and Chicago, with one poster even being vandalised by a member of the public.