Puppetry of the Penis ad gets complaint for ‘thrusting the male genital part into the public arena’

A billboard ad for long-running comedy theatre production Puppetry of the Penis has drawn its first complaint since the show first ran in Australia 13 years ago.

The complaint to the Ad Standards Bureau is from a Brisbane churchgoer who objects to children being exposed to the “male genital part”.

The word ‘penis’ appears on the ad, although no flesh or even penis-like shapes are featured.

The two billboards are up on Abbotsford Road, Bowen Hills and outside the Twelfth Night theatre on Cintra Road, Brisbane. The campaign is scheduled to run in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney where the show will tour.

The complaint read:

We teach our children to behave civilly and use words appropriately. This billboard offends against this dignity by thrusting the male genital part into the public arena for entertainment and laughs. It makes a mockery of parent’s efforts to raise their children to respect their own and other’s modesty and dignity. You cannot avoid seeing it from several major, arterial roads which we regularly travel and it is in the same street as a Church we attend. Since the billboard is on our route to the City, to Church and to numerous other events, we cannot avoid it without taking considerable detours. This is seriously impinging on our freedom of movement.

Simon Morley, the Australian founder of Puppetry of the Penis told City News: “I just think people see the word penis and get very defensive. We just did a five month tour in the UK and there wasn’t one complaint.”

“It was a take on those old-style shock horror films, which is what we’re trying to achieve with it, a bit of humour mixed with something scary.”

Morley said the poster was far more tame than ads he has run in the past.





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