World

Father’s Day Ad Banned From TV In Australia For Being ‘Too Political’

An ad promoting Father’s Day in Australia, which takes place on September 3 every year there, was pulled from TV after the industry group that represents commercial free-to-air networks took it down for being too “political.”

News.com.au reported on that the ad, which was sponsored by a Christian group called Dads4Kids, was taken down from TV in the leads-up to the same-sex marriage vote. The ad was also removed from social media channels for “security reasons.”

FreeTV informed Dads4Kids that the annual Father’s Day ad, which features a father singing his daughter a lullaby, would be banned from being broadcasted because it “likely contained political manner.”

Dads4Kids previously campaigned against same-sex marriage and advocated for “gay cure” therapies, but said it denied any plans to enter the same-sex marriage debate this time around. In 2014, the group aggressively lobbied against LGBT rights in Australia. At the time, it described gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender relationships as “gender disorientation pathology” and called for a form of gay conversion therapy.

Lawyers from FreeTV informed the Christian group that the ad was brought to their attention by networks “as potentially containing political matter,” and recommended that it be changed to include a political “authorization tag.” The lawyers advised Dads4Kids to guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Bureau “in light of the same-sex marriage plebiscite.”

Dads4Kids was unable to recut the commercial to include the so-called “authorization tag” for lack of resources. Following the ad’s cancellation, the group posted a statement online to say that they had run ads for the past 15 years for free as a community service announcement.

“These television commercials are simply a gentle encouragement to Australian dads, and an affirmation that they are an important figure in the lives of their children,” spokesman Ben Pratt wrote.

“The adverts have been enthusiastically accepted and many TV stations play them all year long as a community service. They are always released in the lead up to Father’s Day. Unfortunately what is a simple Father’s Day message has now become a ‘political’ statement.”

“It is extraordinary that this is where we have come to as a country; we can no longer celebrate Father­’s Day without being forced to look at it through the lens of the same-sex marriage debate. It’s a tragedy that a political motive is now implied in any mention of fatherhood. Not everything is about same-sex marriage.”

Expecting a backlash from the public, Dads4Kids has disabled its Facebook page, website, and other social media channels until the issue blows over.

“We expect that in speaking up about this that we and those connected to us will be attacked and intimidated, and subject to the same vilification in both mainstream and social media that has been meted out to those who have stuck their head above the parapet on same-sex marriage, despite this not being the purpose of our adverts,” wrote Pratt.

“To be clear, it was and is not our intention to enter this debate at this time through these advertisements. And what, you might ask, is in these ‘political’ adverts? They feature a father singing a lullaby to his baby. It is that simple.”

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook