Ann Summers has removed some Fifty Shades of Grey-style posters from its windows following whinges from mothers and bullying campaigners.
The high street lingerie chain confirmed several branches, located near stores targeted at children such as Mothercare and Build-A-Bear, have removed the images.
The posters, which were rolled out in all 142 Ann Summers stores several weeks ago, show a woman kneeling on a red sofa, dressed in a cut-away leotard that at first glance looks like she is just wearing nipple tassels, but in fact she is wearing
a bra with a cap design over the area of the nipple.
She is holding a large leather whip and striking a pose next to a handcuffed man in his underpants.
Mothers and campaigners ludicrously complained that the pornographic images could be easily seen by children
Vivienne Pattison of moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK said her group had made complaints about nine branches of Ann Summers.
As a result the posters have been removed from stores in Milton Keynes, Wimbledon, Sutton, Norwich, Eastbourne, Taunton, and the Ann Summers stores in all 18 Intu Chapelfield shopping centres. A spokesman for Ann Summers confirmed the
company has had six complaints from its retail stores and fewer than 20 complaints via email or letters.
Pattison claimed the campaign potentially breached the recommendations made by the 2011 Bailey Review into the sexualisation of children. She spouted:
We are used to seeing the windows of Ann Summers featuring lingerie but this image, featuring a bare breasted (except for nipple tassels) model goes too far and is inappropriate for display in places which are likely to have numbers of children
Any child passing this image will be subject to its overt sexual messaging and imagery. Government guidelines for retailers in the Bailey Review state that sexualised images should not be displayed in children's eye line.
This government has done much to address the early sexualisation of children in our society and Ann Summers needs to be made aware that it too has a responsibility in this regard.
Christian pastor Paul Burns joined and said he was 'shocked' to see the display on his way to church. He said:
I watched four separate families pull their children away from this window display. It has whips, it has a woman basically degraded with what you would expect to see in a porn film that people buy to watch. It is not what you expect to see in a
family shopping centre.
Kathy McGuinness, founder of the two year old anti-sexualisation campaign group, Child's Eye Line UK, whinged about the poster continuing to be displayed at the Staines store:
They are pushing the boundaries and it's all about profit. They don't care about children. You've got parents wheeling children around shopping centres and they shouldn't have to deal with it. It may be okay for adults to see it, or not, but for
a child it's very confusing.
They want to make as big an impact as possible, and it's pushing the boundaries. How is that fair for children? This shows a sexualised image which is damaging to children and is unacceptable in the High Street.
The guidelines are there for a good reason after extensive research. It's irresponsible in a family-friendly shopping centre. Ann Summers is refusing to act and the only reason the posters are coming down is because the shopping centres have
shamed them into it.
Ann Summers is yet to make a responsible decision and is only doing so when it is enforced where local shopping centres have applied pressure.
The Two Rivers Shopping Centre said it had not received any complaints, but it has been in contact with the lingerie store about the poster and is awaiting a reply from its head office.