‘Offensive’ poster banned by Tube bosses
THOSE censorious twats who decide what can and what can’t appear on the walls of the London Underground have made idiots of themselves again – this time by banning a poster for a play at Islington’s King’s Head Theatre.
Tube censors rejected the advert for Fat Christ, a black comedy starring topless model Abi Titmuss, on the grounds that it was ‘likely to offend ethnic, religious or other major groups’.
The poster depicts a portly man on a cross. He is wearing pink striped boxes and a crown of thorns. It was banned from Angel Tube station, where the Upper Street theatre had booked an advertising spot.
The ban has been criticised by the Rev Stephen Coles, of St Thomas’s Church in Finsbury Park, according to the Islington Tribune. He is quoted as saying:
The itch to censor is something one should resist. I can’t quite see how this could cause offence. We’re grown-ups and Jesus can defend himself. One has to be a little wary of indulging the super-sensitive.
Gavin Davis, the author of Fat Christ who also features as the man on the cross, insisted he had not set out to offend.
The play is a comedy and the poster accurately reflects its content and themes – the central character stages his own mock crucifixion for an art project. We don’t believe it to be blasphemous and can’t understand London Underground’s censorious position. I am, however, prepared to apologise for my choice of boxer shorts.
The decision follows London Underground’s ‘nipplegate’ veto earlier this week of a 15th-century nude portrait of Venus by the German painter Lucas Cranach the Elder, with which the Royal Academy hoped to advertise its latest exhibition.
Publicist Kevin Wilson, who designed the Fat Christ poster, is no stranger to religious controversy. Corpus Christi, a play he publicised at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington in 2000, attracted nightly demonstrations by Muslim cleric Abu Hamza, bombs threats and a fatwa.
A London Underground spokesman said the Fat Christ poster was ‘declined’ because it contravened a commitment not to display adverts likely to offend ethnic, religious or other major groups.
Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day and they have no choice but to view whatever adverts are posted there. We have to take account of every passenger and endeavour not to cause offence in the advertising we display.
We should point out that London Underground have no such inhibitions when it comes to posters advertising religious organisations, which atheists find offensive. Some years ago the now defunct Festival of Light festooned the Underground with posters declaring ‘Pornography Poisons the Mind’. When we asked London Underground for permission to put up posters saying ‘Religion Poisons the Mind’, we were politely told to piss off.