The Italian Almanac

controversial poster

Italian News - September 13

Top Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani continued his famous shock tactics this month with an advertising campaign featuring two men kissing and groping on a black leather sofa. In one of the posters for trendy men's clothing line Ra-Re, one of the models is clutching his friend's crotch. In another photo, the same model is shown lying across the sofa and pulling his friend down on top of him for a kiss.

The Citizens' Defence Movement (MDC) said it had received complaints about the posters from parents and child protection groups. "Obviously we respect homosexuality but it can be difficult to explain to young children. Parents have protested about the embarrassment of trying to answer their children's questions about the photos. The children typically want to know what the two men are doing, or why they are touching each other like that," the association said.

The parents' association MOIGE branded the campaign "vulgar," saying "it's not a matter of sexual orientation because these posters would be vulgar even if they featured a man and a woman." "It's no surprise that Toscani is behind this provocation," added MOIGE, which said it would try to get the advertisements banned.

But Toscani defended the posters, saying they were an "anthem to freedom, including the freedom to be gay. There's nothing scandalous about two men touching each other. They are just having fun playing with their sexuality," he said. The 63-year-old photographer explained that the two men in the ads were non-professional models who were together in real life. "These photos finally give parents the chance to overcome their complexes and talk to their children openly about homosexuality," he concluded.