"Goon" Movie Posters Stripped from Bus Shelters on Eve of Premiere

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On Wednesday, February 22, the same night as the film’s red carpet premiere, Astral Media removed 38 of Goon’s movie posters from Toronto city bus shelters after the City of Toronto received numerous complaints. The Goon posters in question show Canadian actor Jay Baruchel making a sexually suggestive gesture with his fingers and tongue. Other posters for the film featuring co-stars Liev Schreiber and Seann William Scott are still standing.

According to the Globe & Mail, the film’s distributor Alliance Films says that “outdoor advertiser Astral Media was told to rip down the signs from transit shelters Wednesday after the city apparently received numerous complaints about the sexually suggestive pictures”. According to Alliance the posters have been up for two weeks. However, Elyse Parker of Toronto’s transportation services says it was not the city that made the decision to remove the posters. According to her, “staff contacted Astral after they received at least one complaint Tuesday from a city councillor’s office. Astral took down the posters without further discussion with the city.”

This isn’t the first time that advertisements for the Canadian hockey comedy have come under scrutiny. Commercials for the film were also reportedly prohibited by the World Junior Hockey League from airing during the championship game due to violence and its association with the sport of hockey. No doubt due in part to significant media coverage over the level of violence in hockey today and the recent deaths of NHL hockey players.

If the city of Toronto has received complaints, one can expect that Advertising Standards Canada (“ASC”) will too. ASC is Canada’s self-regulatory body that administers the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards (the “Code”), which sets the criteria for acceptable advertising in Canada and forms the basis for review and evaluation of consumer, trade and special interest group complaints. With limited exceptions, the Code applies to all advertising of products and services in any medium in Canada. In this case complaints would likely fall under Clause 14 “Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals” which states that...

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