Woolworths was the first Australian supermarket chain to sell battery-powered sex toys. But the move was short lived as the shop soon bowed to the inevitable nutter protests.
While manufacturer Durex hailed the move as a game changer for the industry , the store soon performed a U-turn, clearing thousands of the products off shelves. These seems to be a response to a large Christian group calling for a
nationwide boycott of its stores.
Roslyn Phillips, a campaigner from Christian advocacy group FamilyVoice Australia, said sex toys belong in sex shops. She spouted:
Society is already suffering massive problems with young children being over-sexualised ... this move by Woolies just makes the problem worse.
I, personally, would not patronise Woolies while this situation exists and I encourage everyone else to boycott them too. I hope parents will let Woolies know how they feel and I hope they tell them they'll continue to shop elsewhere until these
products are removed.
The Australian Family Association's Terri Kelleher, chipped in that the sale of vibrators was diabolically wrong :
Do we really need to be explaining to our children what a vibrator is whilst walking down the supermarket aisle? It completely undermines that parental prerogative as to when and how you raise these sorts of things with children.
A spokesman for Woolworths confirmed an email was sent to all store managers advising them to withdraw the products immediately.
A gallery in Rome has removed photographs of same sex couples kissing in churches after the Catholic Church threatened legal action.
The series of photos, by Gonzalo Orquin, was due to be displayed at the exhibition opening at the Galleria L'Opera. But then the plans were ruined by Vatical censors. Orquin explained to The Local.
A letter arrived from the Vicariate of Rome, an organization that is part of the Vatican, which said the church is against the exhibition. I spoke to lawyers and for security reasons we decided not to show the photos,
The Vicariate, an organization that helps the Pope carry out his functions as Bishop of Rome, confirmed it had sent the letter threatening legal action and claimed the photographs could harm the religious sentiment of the faithful .
Apparently the Italian constitutional law safeguards an individual's religious feeling and the function of places of worship.
15 out of 16 photos in the series are of gay and straight volunteer models. Orquin, who is himself Catholic said:
We went to churches, took the photos at the altar and ran off...it's a bit like a flash mob. A number of times we left because there were a people praying. It wasn't easy.
Elton John won't cancel his forthcoming Moscow show, despite protests from homophobic activists in Russia. The singer will go ahead with his concert on 6 December and hopes to be able to talk to some people at the Kremlin.
Earlier this week, the Ural Parents Committee wrote a letter to Russian president Vladimir Putin, asking him to ban Sir Elton's forthcoming gig:
The singer intends to come out in support of local sodomites and break the current Russian law. (referring to the country's bill prohibiting so-called gay propaganda).
The Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods referred to the scheduled concert as an amoral sabbath . Union leader Yuri Ageshchev told the Novy Region news agency:
The statement by this gay guy -- Elton John -- about his support for gays and other perverts during the upcoming concert ... is an insult to all Russian citizens. It also makes a mockery of our recently enacted law against the public propaganda
of gay ideas.
Elton John said in an interview with NPR's Terry Gross:
On one hand, I [am tempted] to say, 'I'm not going and you can go to hell, you guys.' But that's not helping anyone who's gay or transgendered over there, he said. There are a lot of great Russian people out there who are outraged by what's
going on ... as a gay man and a gay musician, I cannot stay at home and not support these people who have been to lots of my concerts in the past.
Australia's adult entertainment chain Sexyland set to move into traditional retail space. Sexyland owner Angelo Abela is in discussions with major shopping centre owners to bring his range of adult products to a broader market. Abela said:
We would do it very tastefully and we would look very carefully at what we could put into shopping centres,
We're mindful of what we can show, what we sell in the premises as such and we would concentrate mainly on product which isn't restricted to adult premises. We would never go into it if it wasn't accepted by consumers.
In the face of increased online competition, Abela says the chain has focused on products other than porn:
We've concentrated more on lingerie, shoes, novelties and toys rather than the DVD section.
Abela says his company is focusing only on Victorian shopping centres for now and he expects an outcome by Christmas.
Comment: And Mediasnoops have kindly been following the inevitable nutter opposition...
A Quebec organization founded by the Canadian bishops more than 50 years ago to censor films will be re-examining its mission under a new CEO. The Communications et Societe board of directors has appointed Monsignor Pierre Murray, a priest of
the Montreal archdiocese, to run the organization. He explained his role:
One of my tasks will be to make an accurate inventory of all the players in the media, to speak with them, to understand the problems we are facing and to adjust our mission to the needs and the mission of the Church.
In 1957, the bishops were concerned about all the movies playing in the theatres, Murray said in an interview. It serves the French-speaking communities in Quebec and across Canada.
So they asked a team of priests based in Montreal to look at those films, to tell which ones you should go to and which you should avoid. Little-by-little it expanded.
Though still linked to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Murray is the only priest on staff among the eight paid employees. Among them are three professional movie critics who are trained to recognize the artistic value of movies,
A baptized person with good specialization in that area has as much judgment as a priest would have. There is no need to have a priest everywhere.
MediaFilm.ca, one of its divisions, has a searchable database with information on more than 60,000 movies. While in the beginning the focus tended to be on ensuring Catholics would not be led astray, it has since changed to considering the
artistic merit of movies.
In 1968 a priest invented a rating system to evaluate the artistic content. A one would be a masterpiece like Babette's Feast or Of God's and Men . A seven would be really bad, or pathetic, Murray said.
And Murray is not phased that few movies have any reference to religion, he believes that even if movie makers do not have a Christian point of view, they have assimilated the Christian culture.
When they produce their movie they are no strangers to Christianity because it is part of our DNA as a people. Even though they don't knowingly do something Christian, it has great value.
India's leading Islamic seminary, the Darul Uloom, has issued a fatwa declaring that watching cartoons on television is un-Islamic, and a violation of sharia law.
Senior cleric Mufti Arif Quasmi explained the ruling by saying:
A cartoon is a picture. Besides, it is not for the children. It should not be watched.
Some are not happy with the ruling. All India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board convenor Maulana Yasoob Abbas said the Darul Uloom was misleading Muslims and handing out fatwas on anything and everything, making a mockery of Islam . He
said that the Islamic seminary had brought a bad name to it by giving out irresponsible and impracticable fatwas.
A TV station in Thailand has agreed to allow government-approved 'Islamic experts' to censor the script for a TV serial after a small but vocal Muslim group whinged that the show 'misrepresents' their religion.
The soap opera Fah Jarod Sai (Desert Horizon) stars Thai actors in a romantic melodrama portraying an imaginary Arab-style royal officer who falls in love with a girl who is half-Thai, half-French, in a fantasy kingdom named Hinfara.
On August 22, a small, outspoken Bangkok-based group, Muslims for 'Peace', demanded Channel 7 cancel the series.
On August 24, in response, Channel 7's executives met Thailand's Muslim leader Aziz Phitakkumpon, who is the Chularatchamontri or State Counselor for Islamic Affairs, which is an advisory position approved by the prime minister and
appointed by the king.
The Muslims for 'Peace' presented their complaint to Channel 7, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry, and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The Muslims for Peace's petition claimed:
We are afraid that the lakhorn [soap opera] could eventually have large-scale and unpredictable effects on Muslims if the ICT Ministry and the NBTC do not cancel Fah Jarod Sai.
Apparently the complainants felt that it was misleading to show the Muslim religion allowing its believers to be cruel to women and children.
The station had already broadcast four episodes and had eight remaining episodes. These last episodes will now be censored prior to broadcast.
Human Rights Watch has criticized a Dunkin' Donuts advertising campaign running in Thailand that features a model whose face is painted black to sell a chocolate doughnut.
Dunkin' Donuts Thailand recently started running ads for its Charcoal Donut, which features a model wearing blackface makeup and bright pink lipstick and holding up a bitten doughnut. The translated Thai slogan reads: Break every rule
Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, spouted:
It's rather incredible that an international company like Dunkin' Donuts would run such an ad. He claimed the ad fits into a long history of racist advertisements in Southeast Asia.
The chief executive of Dunkin' Donuts in Thailand told the AP that the criticism is just paranoid American thinking. CEO Nadim Salhani said:
It's absolutely ridiculous. We're not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don't get it. What's the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?
Thai people have never treated black African people badly, they have never mocked them via minstrel shows or whatever, and simply do not have the background to understand why the West finds it so politically incorrect to have blacked up media
people. Thais do call black Africans, 'chocolate men' though.
Similarly Thais have little knowledge or background about Hitler and Nazis and so frequently get caught out being politically incorrect with Nazi imagery.
Perhaps Thais need a few history lessons about when westerners have been real shits, and how they now use over-exaggerated politeness to try and plaster over historic wrongs.
The Nordic Choice hotel chain is in the process of converting to Bring Your Own Porn (BYOP). It is in the process of replacing in room porn channels with contemporary art.
The chain's owner, Petter Stordalen has made ludicrous and defamatory claims that the porn industry contributes to trafficking. He said:
The porn industry contributes to trafficking, so I see it as a natural part of having a social responsibility to send out a clear signal that Nordic Hotels doesn't support or condone this.
Starting with his flagship hotel in Norway's capital, Stordalen has now replaced porn with interactive TVs in each room offering "art on demand" with a choice of nine works of contemporary video art, including Sam Taylor-Wood's Still
Life from 2001" -- a film showing a bowl of fruit slowly decomposing.
Stordalen plans to roll out video art to other hotels, with Copenhagen next on the list.
Fifty Shades of Grey , the best-selling tale of erotic romance, perpetuates the problem of violence against women, according to a new genderist study.
Reporting in the Journal of Women's Health , Dr Amy Bonomi concluded that emotional and sexual abuse is pervasive in the novel, with the main female character, Anastasia, suffering harm as a result:
This book is perpetuating dangerous abuse standards and yet it's being cast as this romantic, erotic book for women. The erotic content could have been accomplished without the theme of abuse.
The researchers, at Ohio State University, conducted an analysis of the novel and found patterns consistent with Centres for Disease Control and Prevention definitions of intimate partner violence, and associated reactions known to occur in
The Australian Christian Lobby has predictably welcomed the decision by the Melbourne City Council to push for the banning of ads that supposedly 'sexualise' women.
ACL spokesprat Wendy Francis bleated that the initiative is a much-needed step towards dealing with the 'objectification' of women in outdoor advertising.
ACL congratulates Lord Mayor Robert Doyle for his stand against offensive and sexist imagery in Melbourne's public spaces.
This sets an example for other city councils around Australia to crack-down on sexualised advertising that threatens our children's innocence and promotes negative representations of women and girls,.
Apart from advocating for a ban on advertising that sexualises and objectifies women, the Council will also encourage the community to report such material. The plan also includes creating special safety zones for women in the inner city with
CCTV surveillance, strong lighting and security patrols.
Prosecutors have charged Sedat Kapanoglu and 40 account holders with the blasphemy on the religious values of a society fraction due to their entries on Ekssiso zlu k, a popular social media website in Turkey.
Those charged face prison sentences from 6 up to 12 months.
Turkish blasphemy laws are framed with:
The purpose of protecting the sentiments of those who believe in God, religion, prophets, holy writings and sects. Individuals may certainly express their opinions and criticize certain aspects. However, they must do this while not hurting other
people's religious sentiments. Therefore, nobody has the right to damage the respect of others towards their sacred concepts.
Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters has been accused anti-semitism by a leading rabbi because of a prop used on stage during a recent world tour.
The musician, who is a vocal pro-Palestinian campaigner, came under fire last week after he floated a balloon of a giant pig emblazoned with several symbols considered to represent fascist regimes including the Crucifix, the Star of David, the
Crescent and Star, the Hammer and Sickle, the Shell Oil Logo and The McDonald's Sign, a Dollar Sign and a Mercedes sign
The move sparked 'fury' within the international Jewish community, including that of Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the human rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center, who branded the showpiece a grotesque display of Jew-hatred . He said:
With this disgusting display Roger Waters has made it crystal clear: forget Israel, never mind "limited boycotts promoting Middle East Peace", Waters is an open hater of Jews. The video is beyond shocking. The only books this bigot
should be getting should be with the Mullahs in Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.
But Waters almost immediately issued an impassioned retort on Facebook, in which he called Cooper's remarks:
So wild and bigoted they demand a response. I hold your outburst to be inflammatory and un-helpful and would suggest it can only impede progress towards peace and understanding between people. It is also extremely insulting to me personally in
that you accuse me of being 'Anti Semitic, A Jew Hater and Nazi Sympathizer.
The Wall Show, so lamely attacked by you, Is many things. It is thoughtful, life affirming, ecumenical, humane, loving, anti war, anti colonial, pro universal access to the law, pro liberty, pro collaboration, pro dialogue, pro peace, anti
authoritarian, anti fascist, anti apartheid, anti dogma, international in spirit, musical and satirical.
Activists from the Shiv Sena hindu nationalist party have been pulling down posters of Poonam Pandey's soon-to-be released debut film Nasha. The campaigners claim that the posters are vulgar and objectionable.
The party has forced the film's producer to pull down publicity posters in Mumbai's Lower Parel and Borivali. In an angry protest, sainkis burned posters of the movie at Mahim, claiming that they were offensive.
Akshay Bardapurkar, the general secretary of Shiv Sena Chitrapat Sena maintains that the party finds the poster highly vulgar and derogatory and won't allow such hoardings to be displayed across the city.
Aditya Bhatia, producer of Nasha, claims that he was threatened by party activists:
My outdoor publicist called up to say that Shiv Sainiks had made him pull down the hoarding. They found Poonam's posture objectionable. But my publicity stills have been approved by the Western India Film Producers' Association. So I am not
going to pull the other hoardings down. I am even thinking of filing a complaint.
A church in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand installed a statue of the religious characters Mary and Baby Jesus depicted as tribals, the indigenous people of the state. With dark brown complexions and sporting traditional Indian
tribal clothing (white sari with red border, etc.), the statue in a church in the village of Singhpur has sparked 'outrage' from local Hindus and other non-Christians who have called for its immediate removal.
According to a report in BBC last week, local hindus conducted a march in the nearby city of Ranchi to protest the statue.
Bandhan Tigga, the chief priest of the Sarna Society said:
Showing Mother Mary as a tribal is a part of the larger design to make the tribal population believe that she was from their community and confuse them. One hundred years from now, people here would start believing that Mother Mary was actually
our tribal goddess. It's an attempt to convert Sarna tribals to Christianity. If they do not remove it, a nationwide protest will be organized.
In response, Father Augustine Kerketta, a senior church official in Ranchi said:
What's wrong in this? It's just like the Chinese, Japanese, Irish, German or even the African version of Mother Mary and Baby Jesus.