Two TTC Ads One Allowed, The Other Banned – China Tourism/Yuk Yuk Club
Two TTC Ads
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the budget committee at city hall, TTC CEO Andy Byford defended the agency’s decision to run the ads. He said the Supreme Court of Canada has determined that transit agencies must accept offensive advertising, as long as it isn’t discriminatory or otherwise illegal
Yuk Yuk’s, TTC in sparring match over ad of scantily clad man
TTC deems comedy club’s ad showing a man sporting a skimpy pouch covering his private parts as unacceptable for passengers.
Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club management says there’s nothing funny about a decision by the TTC to ban one of its ads featuring a man wearing a shiny, skimpy pouch covering his private parts because of decency standards.
“We wish this was a joke,” Kyra Williams, vice-president of operations for Yuk Yuk’s, said in an interview.
“A woman can be shown in a bikini, but a guy can’t be shown in a Speedo?” Williams said.
“How is this any more risqué than a woman in a bathing suit?” Williams asked. “Or any lingerie ad campaign?
“A double standard at its finest.”
The rejected ad was intended to run on subway cars.
It features photos of a man wearing a shiny, gold pouch, roughly the size of a Speedo.
In addition to being displayed clutching the glistening pouch for his privates, the man is shown in various poses: holding an umbrella, preparing to hit a volleyball, preparing to grapple in a Mexican wrestling mask, and shivering in an ugly Christmas sweater.
Under the ad are the words: “Looking for the best comedy in the city? We’ve got you covered!”
Tibetan community outraged by TTC ads
The transit agency is standing by its decision to run subway posters from the China National Tourist Office — posters denounced as ‘blatantly racist.
The TTC ad for visiting Tibet, from the China National Tourist Office.
Members of Toronto’s Tibetan community are demanding an apology from the TTC after the agency refused to remove subway ads that critics say are racist propaganda sanctioned by the Chinese government.
“These ads basically portray Tibetans as backwards, as undeveloped and dirty,” said Sonam Chokey, national director of Students for a Free Tibet Canada. “Basically they are trying to legitimize the colonization of Tibet.”
The TTC says the agency had no choice but to run the ads because they’re not in contravention of any law or of the transit agency’s advertising policies.
The posters, which have been on the transit system since Nov. 28, depict two images of Tibet. One is colourless, and shows a clutch of ragged tents and faceless figures in a barren valley, while the other is in colour and shows a modern city in the same mountain setting. The accompanying caption is “Old Culture, New Tibet.”
The posters direct readers to the internet address for the China National Tourist Office.
Chokey said that the China National Tourist Office is a state-sponsored agency and the ads are “blatantly racist.” In addition to demanding that they be taken down immediately, Students for a Free Tibet is calling on the TTC to issue an “official apology” and supporters of the group are expected to speak and protest a meeting of the TTC board Tuesday afternoon.
Tibet has been under control of the Chinese government since a 1950 army takeover that Tibetans refer to as an invasion. China claims it was an act of liberation.
In response to questions about the ad, the China National Tourism Office issued a short statement to the Star on Monday. It said the poster “is supposed to show a Tibet, which enjoys both tradition and modernity now. All Canadians are most welcome to visit Tibet.” The statement included a link to the tourism agency’s Tibet webpage.
According to the TTC, the tourism agency paid about $20,000 for the ads. Two hundred of the posters were placed on subways and eight installed in stations. They’re set to run until Friday, Dec. 23.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the budget committee at city hall, TTC CEO Andy Byford defended the agency’s decision to run the ads. He said the Supreme Court of Canada has determined that transit agencies must accept offensive advertising, as long as it isn’t discriminatory or otherwise illegal.
According to TTC policy, advertising on the transit system must adhere to “all applicable laws,” including the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards and the Ontario Human Rights Code. If five or more people complain about an ad, it’s referred to the TTC advertising review working group.
Byford said that in this case, the group reviewed the ad and “concluded that we did apply the rules correctly.”
“I understand the concerns that the Tibetan community have made, but the simple facts are the TTC, as TTC staff, are simply not able to make subjective judgments. We are bound by the rules regarding use of adverts on the TTC,” Byford said.
Councillor Gord Perks (Ward 14) said the transit agency should consider changing its rules. His ward of Parkdale-High Park is home to the largest Tibetan community in North America, and he said he had received dozens of complaints from constituents who have been “profoundly hurt” by the posters.
“If the TTC found that these ads don’t violate these policies, there’s something wrong with their policies,” he said.
This isn’t the first time that ads on the transit system have stoked controversy. In 2013, the agency rejected an ad from a group called Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East that included a series of maps showing how Palestinian territory has shrunk since the founding of Israel. At the time, the transit agency said some people might interpret the posters as advocating “for violence or hatred against Israel or the Jewish people.”
The TTC recently refused to carry ads from Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club that showed a man wearing little more than a pair of gold underwear. The transit agency said the posters violated the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards prohibition against “unacceptable depictions or portrayals.”
With files from Jennifer Pagliaro