back to article STRONG REAL SEX? That's not porn, rules ASA

British parents can be reassured that a newspaper picture of a man and woman having sex at the base of tree to advertise a film which "CONTAINS STRONG REAL SEX, BLOODY VIOLENCE AND SELF-MUTILATION" is not pornographic. The Advertising Standards Authority made the ruling after seven complainants turned to it in horror after …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dumber and Dumber

    The ASA just get dafter and dafter. So it's unlikely that children will see the ad is it? Not now they've publicised it. It's not so much that I think they are necessarily wrong in this case, but the level of hypocrisy is staggering. Just look at the number of ads they have banned on ridiculous grounds.

    I'll bet the outcome would have been different if the ad had been carried by tabloids rather than broadsheets.

    And as for the "it was the only picture we were given" defence, that is an absolute corker. The simple answer to that should have been "well ask for another one then". And would the same defence have worked if the image depicted graphic violence?

    Yet more evidence that the ASA need to be replaced by a body that works to rigid rules, rather than "interpreting" some loose guidelines.

  2. Hollerith 1

    Can't see the fuss over the advert. the film, however...

    Given that every second clothing and perfume advert has as close to heterosexual 'acts' in it (one on London buses has an oiled and shiny woman pulling the undies off an oiled and shiny man -- yet strangely sexless...) I can't see how this advert is worse than what Our Children see already.

    The film, however, is total dreck and ought to be banned on aesthetic grounds. Will no one think of our taste buds?

  3. Evil Graham

    Should have tried a few more papers

    The Daily Mail would have asked whether the couple had permits to work legally in the UK. The Sun would have said "Fwoooaaarr!" and the Express would wonder what this has to do with the death of Princess Diana.

  4. Justabloke 1

    ASA in sensible decision shock!!!

    See title....

  5. Lawrence 7

    Where is the Offending Item in question?

    Quite obviously we need the ability to make our own minds up about the offensiveness of this offending offender, and for you to write such a story without any visual reference is just unacceptable!!

    You know what you need to do. Mobil, or it didn't happen!

  6. Graham Dresch

    Seven !!! complaints

    Is that all ? Just seven complaints out of a population of > 60 Million. Its time the ASA remit was changed to completely ignore all complaints unless at least half the population complain about the same AD, with stringent checks to ensure that each complaint comes from an individual and not some self - serving pressure group.

    The same criteria needs to be applied to all the other bodies that deal with complaints, starting with the BBC.

  7. kissingthecarpet
    Thumb Up

    I admire the Grauniad for its reproduction of swearing

    When other "newspapers" like the Sun coyly print asterisks (note for idiots: not asterixes) the Grauniad reproduces swearing faithfully, including 'cunt' which seems to be a problem for many people apparently over 18. On many occasions this has resulted in better reporting - the impact of quotes from , say a racist copper, word for word is huge compared to the Sun's pathetic version.

    Mind you, they don't mind a bit of soft porn do they?

    The Sun & the Mail always remind me of that great quote from Apocalypse Now! :

    "We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it's obscene "

  8. Dennis O'Neill

    Compare and contrast

    to the stories about Kelly Brook being ordered to have "bigger buns" to hide more of her cleavage on posters for London Underground. Those complaints - by the Transport Authority, no less, before the poster had even appeared!! - really were pathetic.

    @Graham Dresch - " Just seven complaints out of a population of > 60 Million"

    It's actually only 7 complaints form about 1 million readers overall. The Guardian and Independent don't sell a million combined (it's actually about 600,000 in all, I believe, with claims of reader numbers that just barely scrape into 7 figures), so imo those figures are more of an indictment of their anaemic sales.

  9. Tom Chiverton 1

    pic ?

    Pictures or it didn't happen !

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 11:08

    "I'll bet the outcome would have been different if the ad had been carried by tabloids rather than broadsheets."

    Well, yeah. That was central to the ruling...

  11. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    "It's art!"

    I can't help wondering if the same result would have been given to an ad for a movie produced and released as an outright pr0n movie, whether there were hands sticking out amongst treeroots or otherwise. Yes, the ad itself merely shows the top half of Defoe's rear, but it is very obvious what the couple are up to and the actress's hands are clasping said rear. Which would seem to imply it breaches the ASA's guidelines.

    It seems to be the same old defence - "if it's black-and-white pics it's art, if it's colour then it's pr0n". The luvvie's defence of the movie, which includes "real, penetrative sex" (so, that's nor pr0n then!!?!?!!), seems to hinge around the idea that Lars Von Trier is a "great artist". Hence, the ASA seems to have approached the subject matter as "art", rather than just take the simple view "it's two people obviously sh4gging and they're doing so in a paper that could be seen by minors". Sorry, I have no problem with others going to see the film itself (you want to go see a woman cut up her own bits then go ahead), but the ad was designed to stoke controversy and generate publicity for what is likely to be a boxoffice stinker. After all, the movie is supposed to be about dealing with the loss of a child, so why else would they have an ad highlighting the sexual content?

    /naughty word substitution as I'm behind someone else's firewall today!

  12. Davey Bee


    You criticise the Sun and the Mail for not printing swear words, and you talk about the Sun's "pathetic version". But the Mirror's policy on this is just the same - so why do don't you have a go at them too? Or is it just newspapers you see as right-wing that you can bring yourself to criticise?

    And why do Guardian readers seem to be such experts on the Mail? Do they read it in secret?

  13. Anonymous Coward


    It's somewhat ironic that in those papers, especially on weekends where there is a higher degree of chance regarding children actually reading a newspaper, in the art magazines included for publication they typically portray the female form in some aspect of nudity, breasts being displayed in an "artistic" sense (i.e. art pictures of models etc. not copies of paintings or statues) and whatnot.

    All in all though we should be focusing our efforts on ensuring our children are properly educated and not treated like mushroom's, the current approach I feel plays a large part in the reason why teenagers are having sex more because it is something they are not properly educated on...

    Anyway this article typify's why our government's spend too much taxpayers money trying to cater for minority groups, I mean 7 complaints why bother!

  14. Valerion

    If I catch my kids looking at that they'll get a belt around the ear

    The Guardian, that is. Couldn't care less about the advert.

  15. Daniel Wilkie


    Maybe teenagers just like sex more these days?

  16. Daedalus Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    And so it goes....

    The first female nude pic in a Brit paper was an advert for diet biscuits in: The Times. Following that, the Sun threw caution and everything else to the winds, and here we are. Now the Grauniad has shown a couple on the job. Over to you, Rupert.

  17. Chris Thomas Alpha

    @Matt Bryant

    The film isnt about the loss of a child at all, have you seen it? If you have, your brain must have been turned off.

    The film is about the violent, sexually aggressive nature that exists in all women, that they are nothing more than just violent animals who rape kill, crush and destroy a man in their natural course to exploiting weaknesses and controlling everything around them

    THAT, is not my opinion, but the opinion of Lars Von Treer, who can only be called batshit insane if he thinks this film represents anything of reality of the real nature of women.

    He is basically a woman-hating-rape-fantasist who uses pornographic scenes and messages to portray the world in his eyes. Read the interviews he gave on the subject, read about the web, you'll find out the real truth behind this sick man.

    Really, it's quite unbelievable what you see and hear in this movie, that someone could be that sick in the head, is something I never encountered before, the bit I thought the most obscene was when she hit the guy in the balls with a massive piece of wood, then proceeded to masturbate him until he ejaculates blood all over her chest. You think thats a normal thing to be seeing in a film?

    I would tell everyone to boycott the film, but I am not sure whether after what I just said, I just made all the rental sales go through the roof :D

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is it that pornographic complaints CLEARLY were from Norfolk?

    I'm not from Norfolk, but I've found that it's more toffed-up Middle England (i.e. Home Counties and the Commuter Belt) who get all synthetically outraged over things like this than rural Norfolk does.

    It's the same people who give their children names like Chardonnay and Jade (male form, apparently) who are all in a lather... and we all know where they are from.

  19. NBCanuck

    Movie is....disturbing

    While I have not seen the picture in question, I have seen the movie and recall the scene and can create a pretty good mental image of what the picture in question looks like. I can't say I'd want little Timmy and Sally to have a gander at this, but despite the nudity, there is a lot of other aspects to the picture that would draw your attention (the hands in the roots). While containing nudity, the picure itself does not seem to promote an overyly erotic image.

    While not something I would normally have watched, I am a fan of horror (non-slasher style) movies and the title drew me in. The movie was disturbing and will best be enjoyed by people with an open mind and thinkers. This is not a movie that you sit down, turn off your brain and enjoy the ride. There are issues and meanings that you can discuss/argue about with others afterwards.

    Still....not for the faint of heart. Park your morality at the door or stay out as this will mess you up if you aren't prepared for it.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Thomas Alpha've just added one rental sale...

    @AC Read the article about Norfolk and Google in O&S

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Thomas Alpha

    CTA wrote:

    The film is about the violent, sexually aggressive nature that exists in all women, that they are nothing more than just violent animals who rape kill, crush and destroy a man in their natural course to exploiting weaknesses and controlling everything around them.

    WTF? They made a film about my Ex wife? I hadn't heard.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spell his name right!

    It's Lars von Trier. I vaguely recognised the name, but it wasn't till I consulted Wikipedia that I realised I'd seen two of his films: Breaking the Waves (1996) and The Idiots (1998). Both rather strange, but worth seeing, I think.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Let's face it, I was flicking through a recent copy of The Mirror in the barber's with my young son sat next to me, and had to hurriedly turn past most of the pages as it was what I deemed unsuitable!

  24. Maty

    So ...

    The hands in the roots made the picture 'dream-like and unrealistic', which makes it okay for kids. Heaven forbid they might actually believe that sex happens in reality.

  25. J 3

    Oh, c'mon...

    I just went search for the image of the poster... And there's no nudity there. One can see the guys back, and that's it -- if that counts as nudity in the UK, let me know and I'll start laughing at you. OK, from the pose it is clear what it is they are doing. But if you already know...

  26. James 55
    Thumb Down


    "I'll bet the outcome would have been different if the ad had been carried by tabloids rather than broadsheets."

    Really? Have you seen what is in the tabloids?

    To the article writer, have you seen this advert? You seem to be offended by it. It's not bad the fact that it is advertising film that featured torture and self-mutilation doesn't make it pornographic.

    You seem to be having the classic OMG-PAEDO-THINKOFTHECHILDREN tabloid response. Of course, tabloids are the height of moral newspaper publishing nationwide...

  27. Robert E A Harvey


    >Maybe teenagers just like sex more these days?

    Blimey. The poor buggers must be absolutely exhausted then. Or, indeed, shagged out.

  28. mittfh

    Other papers (@Evil Graham)

    You forgot The Telegraph, which would have had an exclusive investigation revealing that the studio where the picture was taken was being rented by an MP, who (you've guessed it!) was claiming the full cost of rent and bills on expenses. Not to mention a dozen copies of the film itself...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cry Babies

    I've never really understood why a social group that had recently inspected the insides of a vagina and suck regularly on tits should be discriminated against when it comes to porn.

    But then I don't really see why the more conservative amongst us feel the need to pretend no one has sex and that anyone who doesn't wear a full body suit to bed is a devil worshiping heathen. You want to make one of these jovial chaps choke in a fit of apoplexy, just tell them that masturbation is healthy, gay marriage won't bring about the Apocalypse and Jesus would have to be either black or Arabian in order to exist as more than an above average magician from a book of entertaining stories Hugh Hefner and Steven King would be proud of.

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