Melon Farmers Original Version

Transport for London Censors

Advert censorship


Cheese crackers...

Tube poster ludicrously banned for referencing the online sale of cheese

Link Here12th September 2023
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
Transport for London (TfL) has ludicrously banned adverts for business premises provider Workspace for using a cheese company as example customer.

The posters put forward by Workspace featured three panels, reading: From crunching numbers to selling cheese online, it all happens at Workspace. The advert featured an image of a hand typing at a calculator and another of some cheese, alongside the names of two Workspace tenants - an accountancy company, and London-based online cheese shop Cheesegeek.

But the adverts were rejected by TfL under its censorship rules aimed at cutting obesity. TfL claimed the poster wasn't going to conform to their advertising rules because of the high saturated fat contained within cheese.

TfL's rules dictate an advert will not be approved if, among numerous other reasons, it promotes (directly or indirectly) food or non-alcoholic drink which is high in fat, salt and/or sugar, according to the Nutrient Profiling Model managed by Public Health England.

Cheesegeek founder and CEO Edward Hancock slammed the decision as ridiculous and said it wrongly categorises cheese alongside genuine junk food.



Junk decisions...

Transport for London ludicrously bans a stage show poster depicting a wedding cake

Link Here8th July 2023
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
A poster for a West End play featuring a wedding cake was banned by Transport for London (TfL) ludicrously seen as promoting foods high in fat, salt and sugar.

The ad for Tony n' Tina's Wedding , a dinner show at Wonderville, Haymarket, featured a three-tier sponge cake.

The interactive show is set at an Italian-American wedding, with a three-course meal, live music and dancing. Producer Paul Gregg told BBC London they could not run the posters after they delivered them to TfL. He said of TfL:

They said 'you can't put these up, they've got cake on'. It was a bit of a surprise...



Offsite Article: Sadiq is turning London into a nanny state...

Link Here 7th April 2021
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
Now the patronising mayor wants to ban gambling ads. By Jon Bryan

See article from



Sadiq Khan's naked hypocrisy...

Why is the London mayor throwing money at some underwear ads while banning others?

Link Here 12th February 2020
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship



Political fare...

TfL orders the removal of 'Free Balochistan' adverts from London cabs

Link Here7th November 2017
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
Transport for London (TfL) has removed Free Balochistan adverts from London black cabs after pressure from the Pakistani government

The World Baloch Organisation , which advocates for rights of the ethnic Balochs who live in the Balochistan regions straddling Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, launched its campaign on London's black cabs to highlight the war crimes and human rights abuses of the Islamabad government.

The #FreeBalochistan adverts carry slogans saying Stop enforced disappearances and Save the Baloch people

The British High Commissioner in Islamabad was summoned to appear before the Pakistani Foreign Secretary, Tehmina Janjua, on Friday over the adverts which they said directly attack its territorial integrity and sovereignty.



Update: Bareback banned in London...

The latest example of puerile censorship from Sadiq Khan and TfL

Link Here 14th October 2017
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
Back in 2016, after a bit of a hoo-hah about a 'beach body ready' advert, London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressurised Transport For London (TfL) into introducing a PC ban for all adverts which didn't adhere to the notion of 'body positivity'.

And in the latest example of extreme PC censorship, Heist, a company which sells up-market tights, recently revealed that TfL forced it to cover-up a woman's naked back with a bandeau top in one of its adverts on the tube.

A representative from Exterion Media, the company which works on behalf of TfL and enforces its policy, told Heist:

Whilst I know this is only showing a bare back, it still depicts a 'topless model. If we could add a boob tube around the back I think this would be passed.'

It also looks as if the tights were photoshopped to darken them a little to hide a rather sharply outlined bottom.

... Read the critical comment in article from by Ella Whelan.



Update: It's Only Rock 'n Roll...

London Transport censors whinge about Rolling Stones exhibition advert

Link Here 8th July 2015
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
Even in their seventies, the Rolling Stones still have the power to get the establishment hot under the collar.  A poster for their new museum exhibition has been banned for being supposedly lewd.

The advert has their trademark logo of a cartoon mouth and protruding tongue covering the crotch of a woman's bikini bottom.

While it has already been used across social media, on news websites and by major companies such as Ticketmaster, bosses at Exterion Media, censors that approve posters to appear on the London Underground and at bus stops, insisted the logo be moved up to the woman's belly button before allowing it to go ahead.

This is despite the advert already being widely used by the band online to promote Exhibitionism , which opens at London's Saatchi Gallery next year.

A spokesman for the band said:

We are dumbfounded and perplexed at this rather silly decision. Perhaps the fact that it's the Rolling Stones and controversy seems to follow them everywhere.



Update: London Underground bans stage show advert...

Easily offended whingeing believers and/or aggressive bullying PC censors. Does any of this do anything to generate any actual 'respect' for religion?

Link Here 7th March 2015
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
Adverts for a Jewish play which received five-star reviews in one of the religion's newspapers have been banned from the London Underground because they could cause offence . Transport for London (TfL) decided that posters of Joshua Harmon's acclaimed production, Bad Jews , should be banned.

The poster for the comedy, which is about a family brought together after the death of their Holocaust-survivor grandfather, shows four characters in a quarrel on the floor.

One complaint was made to the the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) during the play's first campaign, but the advert censor concluded that the poster did not breach rules. However, TfL disagreed with the ASA's ruling and told the Evening Standard it would not clarify the precise reason for the rejection. A TfL spokesperson said:

The advert, Bad Jews, was previously displayed on our network as our advertising contractor approved it without consulting us. It was subsequently submitted for display again and has been rejected as it contravened our advertising policy, which states that adverts will not be approved if they may cause widespread or serious offence.

Producer Danny Moar has blasted TfL's decision, saying it seemed like censorship , despite the play winning a five-star review for the Jewish Chronicle.  He told the paper:

Half the cast are Jewish, I'm Jewish, the writer is Jewish and the word 'bad' in the title, in so far as it matters, doesn't mean 'evil' -- it means 'non-observant'.  This is a form of censorship which is so weird and ironic when, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo events, everyone marched against censorship. 



Update: Bum Decision...

Posters for gay play banned from London's Underground

Link Here16th January 2015
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
Posters for the revival of Kevin Elyot's play My Night with Reg have been banned from appearing at London Underground stations for featuring male nudity.

A Transport for London press officer told the Standard they hadn't seen the ad but: if it has been rejected it means that it doesn't meet the guidance that we have set.

The comedy is set in London's gay community in the mid-1980s, against the back drop of the mounting AIDS crisis.



Update: Gagging for Easy Offence...

Posters for the play, Charles III, are censored on London Underground

Link Here 20th April 2014
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
A poster advertising a satirical play about the Monarchy and, showing Prince Charles gagged, has been censored by London Underground because it fears it could cause offence.

The advert for the critically acclaimed production of King Charles III features a punk-style portrait of the Prince with his mouth covered by white duct tape.

But despite the fact that the poster has been displayed across London since the play opened nearly three weeks ago, a nervous Transport for London has decided to pixelate Charles's face.

There appeared to be confusion over exactly why the poster had been censored. TfL laid the blame on the company that deals with adverts on the Tube:

We work with a company called Exterion Media, which handles our adverts on the Tube network and offers advice. They may say this or that could cause offence. Exterion may have said the poster doesn't fit with part of their policy. The decision was made without reference to us and does look to have been a little over-enthusiastic. We will speak to them about it.



Update: The Modern World Sits in Judgment of Religion...

Transport for London, unsurprisingly prefers not to carry adverts featuring religious satire. And christians do not understand why

Link Here 31st March 2014
Full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
There is an exhibition at St Marylebone Church of the work of 20 artists' representations of the Stations of the Cross. Throughout Lent, some of these have been approved by TfL to appear on the London Underground.

But not Antony Micallef's Kill Your Idol , a representation of the first station, where Jesus is condemned to death, this time by an X-Factor style panel of judges.

A spokesperson for TfL said the poster was rejected because it did not comply with the firm's advertising policy. She pointed to a clause that concerns causing widespread or serious offence to members of the public and another referring to advertisements that do not comply with the law or incite someone to break the law.

It is the view of St Marylebone's Rector, the Reverend Canon Stephen Evans, that this work raises:

Important contemporary questions about the fickleness and shallowness of fame and celebrity, success and failure. About who has the power to say just who is going to be a 'hit' and who a 'miss'.

It is not an image that could cause offence, it's not obscene; it is just a very, very strange decision.

But of course the decision is nothing to do with nuances of offence. It's just that everybody knows that religion and satire simply do not mix, and anything coming anywhere close is simply best avoided for fear of either violence or else a station load of moaning minnies. It seems that religion these days is not really very welcome in the normal world, it causes far too much trouble in the world.


22nd September

Armless Fun...

London Underground ban posters for Lou Reed and Metallica's Lulu album

Posters for Metallica's forthcoming Lulu collaboration with Lou Reed have been banned from the London underground.

According to Henne Music, the authority Transport For London decided it looked too much like graffiti.

Offsite Comment: Sick

From by Lucy Jones

The poster depicts a dismembered, cut and bruised female mannequin. The word LULU, the name of the album, is scrawled across her in coagulated blood by the perpetrator's finger, we presume. Perhaps from cutting up her legs. I've only just stopped feeling sick an hour after seeing it. The artist has made the face as human as possible; this is no lifeless plastic model.

Lou Reed complained about TfL's stand, lamely asking: What would Andy Warhol or Jean Michel Basquiat say of this type of frivolous censorship? Probably something like: Grow up, man. We're not in CBGBs anymore .

Now I'm not one for censorship, and as far as I'm concerned bands can put anything they like on their album sleeves ...BUT... in the context of public transport, the image is hateful.


8th February

Big Drips at London Underground...

Massive Attack album art banned by London Underground

The band Massive Attack have been banned from advertising their new album Heligoland on the London Underground because it looked like graffiti.

Robert 3D Del Naja who had to redesign his artwork for stations, said: They won't allow anything on the Tube that looks like street art.

They want us to remove all drips and fuzz. It's the most absurd censorship I've ever seen.


3rd March

 Offsite: Censorship for Transport for London...

Pre-emptive censorship is a cross we all bear

See article from


23rd February

Update: Mr Fat Controller...

London Underground panders to the easily offended

London Underground have rejected the advert for Fat Christ , a black comedy starring topless model Abi Titmuss, on the grounds that it was likely to offend ethnic, religious or other major groups.

The poster depicts a portly man on a cross. He is wearing pink striped boxes and a crown of thorns. It was banned from Angel Tube station, where the Upper Street theatre had booked an advertising spot.

The ban has been criticised by the Rev Stephen Coles, of St Thomas's Church in Finsbury Park, according to the Islington Tribune. He is quoted as saying: The itch to censor is something one should resist. I can't quite see how this could cause offence. We're grown-ups and Jesus can defend himself. One has to be a little wary of indulging the super-sensitive.

Gavin Davis, the author of Fat Christ who also features as the man on the cross, insisted he had not set out to offend: The play is a comedy and the poster accurately reflects its content and themes – the central character stages his own mock crucifixion for an art project. We don't believe it to be blasphemous and can't understand London Underground's censorious position. I am, however, prepared to apologise for my choice of boxer shorts.

A London Underground spokesman said the Fat Christ poster was “declined” because it contravened a commitment not to display adverts likely to offend ethnic, religious or other major groups: Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day and they have no choice but to view whatever adverts are posted there. We have to take account of every passenger and endeavour not to cause offence in the advertising we display.


14th February

Going Down the Tube...

London Underground ban historical nude

Venus has been delighting connoisseurs for almost 500 years - but she has been banned from London Underground, as they decided she is likely to offend rather than enchant the capital's weary commuters.

She was intended as the main poster for the Royal Academy's show on the German artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, noted for his sensuous nudes.

Millions of people travel on the London Underground each day and they have no choice but to view whatever adverts are posted there. We have to take account of the full range of travellers and endeavour not to cause offence in the advertising we display, a spokesman said. [You just have to know who they are alluding to!]

London Underground advertising is vetted by a firm called CBS Outdoor, and Venus seems to have fallen foul of the guideline that advertising should not depict men, women or children in a sexual manner, or display nude or semi-nude figures in an overtly sexual context.

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