French infidelity website cries censorship after bus ads removed
A French website facilitating extra-marital affairs complained of censorship on Wednesday after complaints led to its ads being pulled from buses in towns near Paris.
The advert for Gleeden.com features a half-eaten apple with the tagline "the premier site for extra-marital encounters designed by women."
The group Catholic Families Associations (AFC), announced on Wednesday that it had filed a complaint against the site's publisher, Black Divine, "challenging the legality of the site and its advertisements." “Behind infidelity, there are children, broken families, family traumas,” said the lawyer for the AFC.
Fidelity has not been a penal offence in France since1975.
One of the leading opponents of the adverts, the Mayor of Rambouillet near Paris, maintains that the advert nevertheless incites disrespect for an article of the Civil Code which “stipulates mutual respect, fidelity, help and assistance between spouses”.
A Catholic organisation called Les Précurseurs sent a petition signed by 20,000 people, to bus companies in the Paris region, calling for the withdrawal of the adverts.
Although the bus companies did not agree to a withdrawal, the adverts nevertheless disappeared in many areas before the official end of the advertising campaign on 9 February.
One bus company, Keolis, confirmed it was pulling the ads for Gleeden.com, particularly in Versailles (which has a reputation as a bastion of Catholicism) saying it had received more than 500 complaints in a single week, compared with 900 normally received in a year.
Gleedon say they have been censored.
"We don't understand the exaggerated reaction, especially since we have been advertising for five years," said Solene Paillet, a spokeswoman for the site. She called the decision “backward” and said the campaign “carried a very neutral message and was in no way shocking."
The adverts were approved by the French advertising standards authority and Média transports, which makes adverts for transport companies around Europe.
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