The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a complaint about an ad that was said to promote gay sex in toilets.
The unintentionally humorous ruling, which was posted on the ASA website dealt with a complaint by a Mr Human lodged against a print advertisement that appeared in the Cape Times newspaper in February for Bows Escort Agency.
The ad included the words “Sports/Tantric, Mass” and “Cottage”, which Human believed meant that the establishment was promoting prostitution and was thus illegal.
The ASA, said the only part of the advertising that might be objectionable is the word “cottage” as the rest of the ad refers to massage, which is legal.
The Oxford dictionary gives two descriptions of “cottage”, noted the organisation’s Directorate. Firstly, it is a small house, typically one in the country. The second description is an informal word for performing homosexual acts in a public toilet.
“According to Wikipedia, “cottaging” is a gay slang term for having casual sex in a public lavatory and is more common among gay men,” wrote the ASA.
The ASA said that it therefore had to determine whether or not “cottage” is intended to have a sexual meaning in the advertisement.
It noted however, that the advertisement refers to a woman, Kayla. “It is also unlikely that she is offering to have sex in a public toilet as this is not consistent with the other services in the advertisement.”
“Given that, in any event, the Directorate finds the sexual meaning of “cottage” unlikely in its current context, the more reasonable explanation is that the advertiser offers her massage services in a cottage.”
“Based on the above,” ruled the ASA, “the advertisement is not illegal…”
According to SAPA, the owner of the massage parlour, a laughing Maria Neethling, confirmed that the word “cottage” referred to that fact that the business is “situated in a semi-detached cottage. It’s simply a geographic description of where we are,” she said.