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Cruiseline ads too ‘touchy’ for Winnipeg paper

Paper claims new policy applies to images of men and women too

Uptown, a Winnipeg arts and entertainment newspaper, has run ads for Cruiseline’s telephone cruising service since 2002, but last week the paper decided to censor Cruiseline’s ads that feature two men touching each other.

“The publisher claims that he doesn’t care if it’s two men, two women, or a man and woman touching — he doesn’t allow it,” says Liam O’Reilly, Cruiseline’s ad manager. O’Reilly claims that Uptown’s publisher says the new policy applies to ads featuring touching of any kind — even images of handshaking.

Cruiseline decided on Jul 13 to withdraw its ads from Uptown in protest. In a letter to the newspaper, O’Reilly wrote that he believes Uptown’s new policy is an excuse to mask a “homophobic motivation to censor.”

Cruiseline is a telephone cruising service for men operated by Pink Triangle Press, the parent company of Xtra.ca. Its ads typically feature shirtless men — solo or in pairs — such as the image to the right.

“Originally, the first call that I got was to do with probably our most racy image — a guy in a jockstrap and another guy down at his crotch. Uptown said that they had lost a distribution point because some Christian people in Winnipeg were complaining about it.”

O’Reilly says he agreed to pull that single ad, but a few weeks later he got a call back, and Uptown told him that they would not run Cruiseline ads that featured two men touching.

“We could extend some understanding when our more racy ads were at issue,” wrote O’Reilly in the letter to Uptown, “but when Mr. Meltcalfe [the publisher of Uptown] refused to allow an ad because it included an image of one man hugging another, we could not continue with his publication in good conscience.”

FP Canadian Newspapers purchased Uptown in 2005. The chain owns a number of papers in Manitoba, including the Winnipeg Free Press, the Brandon Sun and a number of weekly Winnipeg community papers.

Xtra.ca contacted the publisher of Uptown for comment, but calls were not returned.

Voice your opinion to the publisher of Uptown:
Bryan Metcalfe
Publisher & General Manager
Canstar Community Newspapers
1465 St. James Street
Winnipeg, MB
R3H 0W9
Tel. 204.789.0801 ext. 201
bryan.metcalfe@canstarnews.com