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(June 20, 2001) PARIS -- France's ad industry watchdog BVP has refused to put its seal of approval on a TV spot for interim employment service Adia, claiming the ad's denunciation of homophobia in the workplace may shock some viewers.

The ad, produced by Leagas Delaney Paris Centre, is one in a series of spots denouncing racism, sexism and homophobia in the workplace that Adia has been using in a recruitment campaign now running in French cinemas.

The BVP -- an industry-led watchdog that judges all TV spots, but which only has a consultative role in vetting other forms of advertising -- approved TV broadcast of ads denouncing racial discrimination and sexual harassment, but was unwilling to accept the graphic language and harsh tone used in the anti-homophobia ad.

In a statement, the BVP says the ad -- which denounces common workplace homophobia that takes place in the context of a business meeting -- was likely to "offend a large number of viewers." Widespread broadcast before a general audience would run the risk of making unacceptable discriminatory behavior acceptable or commonplace for some viewers, the BVP says.

The BVP based its decision not to approve the anti-homophobia ad on government decrees dating to 1992 which state that advertising should "respect human dignity ... be exempt from all discrimination ... [and] not contain any element intended to shock the convictions of telespectators."

Executives at Adia and Leagas Delaney Paris Centre have accepted the BVP's decision, but note its explanation is nonetheless unsatisfactory from their points of view. -- Lawrence J. Speer

Copyright June 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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