Why did Channel 9 think it was ok to air an anti gay marriage ad during the Today show?

Money shouldn’t buy airtime for a message like this.

There’s a new commercial being broadcast on Australian television.

Two of Australia’s most popular free-to-air channels reportedly refused to run it.

But one channel did not.

The 30-second ad, which has been airing right in the middle of Channel Nine’s ever-popular Today breakfast show, uses scare tactics to drum up opposition to marriage equality.

The commercial depicts same-sex marriage as an ominous iceberg, and Australian society as a Titanic-like ship poised to crash into it. 

Meanwhile, a voice over urges viewers to consider “what rights you’ll lose” if same-sex marriage is legalised.

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The group behind the ad is the newly formed Marriage Alliance, which claims that marriage equality “takes away the rights of a child” and will “accelerate the deterioration of everyone’s freedoms”.

Perhaps that’s no coincidence, given that the group was reportedly founded by ACT Liberal Party member Tio Faulkner.

Former Liberal president Ashley Goldsworthy is also a founding director of the group. Meanwhile its spokesperson Sophie York, whose book was launched by Tony Abbott, is a Liberal Party member who once ran as a Member of the NSW Legislative Council.

Marriage Alliance ads
Sophie York, the group’s spokesperson, once ran for the NSW Legislative Council.

The ad’s inaccurate claims are offensive. They are untrue. They are inviting hate. And they are being aired to hundreds of thousands of Australians on free-to-air television.

That’s why today, we’re asking: Why on earth did the Nine Network agree to air these ads?

Nine didn’t have to accept the commercial.

No doubt the advertising dollars were tempting, but competing networks Ten and Seven made the bold decision to reject them, Fairfax Media reports.

Marriage Alliance spokeswomen Sophie York confirmed those networks had turned down the commercial.

“It was pulled at the last minute, so on Friday night before it was due to run on the Monday,” she told Mamamia. “I can’t see the reasoning and we weren’t provided with formal reasons. It was sort of ‘we can’t with this or that’.”

A Ten spokesperson refused to comment, telling Mamamia: “We do not talk about our commercial arrangements, out of respect for our advertisers”.

A Seven spokesperson told Fairfax: “We couldn’t accommodate their booking request. That’s about it.”

Marriage Alliance ads
Sophie York at the Marriage Alliance launch in Sydney. (Photo: Facebook)

Nine told told Fairfax the ad was airing on the network “in very selective time slots”.

Hm… Given that the ad has now been broadcast to the 300,000-odd viewers of the Today show‘s all-ages audience, we’re not exactly sure how that decision is supposed to minimise the damage.

So to those networks which refused to run this offensive material?

Congratulations.

You’ve listened to your conscience — even when you could’ve accepted those homophobes’ lucrative advertising dollars.

As for the decision-makers at Channel Nine?

Do better.

Network Nine and the Today show did not respond to requests for comment.

Related: The Australian Marriage Forum took out a full-page ad in The Australian newspaper yesterday arguing against marriage equality. Here are some of the brilliant social media responses to that bigoted campaign:

Related:

The shameful ad that went to air during Mardi Gras.

The moment Penny Wong won the marriage equality debate.

18 arguments against same-sex marriage – and why they’re bollocks.

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