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UK lawmakers criticize Heinz over ad

June 27, 2008
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According to the Associated Press, a group of British lawmakers said recently that foodmaker Heinz Co. was wrong to withdraw a television advertisement that showed two men kissing.

Six legislators from the governing Labour Party filed a House of Commons motion saying the decision to pull the ad was "ill-considered" and likely to offend gay people. They called on Heinz to reconsider.

Heinz pulled the ad for Deli Mayo last week after some viewers complained. The ad depicted a family kitchen scene involving two children, a father and a male deli cook with a New York accent whom the children called "Mum." At the end of the ad, the cook kissed the father as he left for work.

The Advertising Standards Authority said it received 202 complaints, with some viewers calling the advertisement offensive, inappropriate and unsuitable for children.

The ad, which was on air for a week, could not be shown during children''s programs under rules restricting the advertising of foods with high levels of fat, sugar or salt.

Gay rights groups said they have received many complaints about Heinz''s decision and have urged gay consumers to boycott the company.

The AP also reported that the lawmakers'' nonbinding motion noted "that the manufacturer Heinz has withdrawn its television advertisement, which features two men kissing, on the basis of 200 complaints that it might be embarrassing for parents with children to watch," but, it added, "millions of children watch depictions of same-sex relationships in soap operas every day."

It also said the ad was meant to be humorous and "not intended to be a realistic depiction of a same-sex relationship."
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