Why I won’t be buying any Muller products…

07/10/2004

I sent this letter to consumers@muller.co.uk today because I finally had enough of the stupid bloody adverts in which mincing gay men flounce around the place looking at straight men’s cocks. I’m sorry to be crass, but it pisses me off…

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am writing to complain about the Muller adverts which include a highly camp and stereotypical gay air steward mincing through a hotel (or on a plane) staring suggestively at the crotches of vulnerable and anxious-looking straight men. I was horrified when this advert was on a few years ago, but had assumed that it had been withdrawn because it was so crass. Now I see that it has returned to our screens I’ve decided I should complain.

As a gay man I find this representation both insulting and dangerous. When I was growing up gay I was under the misapprehension that gay people were dirty and sickening and pathetic because of adverts like this. When I became an adult I realised that these stereotypes were only used by small-minded, petty, vindictive and scared little people – people desperate to ‘belong’ and unable to handle anything even vaguely different from themselves. Unfortunately other gay teenagers didn’t have the luxury of coming to terms with these images as easily as I did. While working with the Bristol University Gay and Lesbian society, I met and tried to counsel an enormous number of young gay men who were coming out and who had experienced considerable abuse – including harrassment at school, on the street and even – in one occasion – being stabbed by their own father for being a ‘disgusting sissy’. Your advert is prolonging precisely the stereotypes that cause children to be harrassed in this way – and contributing to the culture that results in twice as many attempted suicides and successful suicides among gay teenagers than straight, as well as an enormous over-representation of gay teenagers among the homeless.

I will not be buying any more of your products until I am reassured that this advert has been withdrawn and I will be doing my best to encourage other people to boycott your products as well. I have also written a complaint to Ofcom.

Yours,

Tom Coates