A Greek travel company debuted a new television advertisement with anti-gay undertones. AirFasttickets published the video on YouTube depicting gay men as predatory and flamboyant creatures.
The video has a gay truck driver picking up a hitchhiker. By making the hitchhiker uncomfortable, the company sends a message that customers will avoid intimidating situations if they book with them.
Founded in 2009 by Nikolaos Koklonis, the company has expanded into the UK, the US, Greece and Germany. The company reportedly reaches five million people worldwide annualy for travel bookings.
Unemployment rates have increased 26 percent with an astounding 1.3 million Greek citizens registered as unemployed, according to Germany’s statistics agency 2012 report.
With the nation in a recession since 2008, hard living situations attributed to unemployment has given rise to homophobia for many members of the LGBT community, especially youth.
Anti-gay protesters along with a Greek neo-Nazi party called Golden Dawn successfully shut down a theater production of Corpus Christi. The play portrays Christ as a gay man.
The party also censored a gay kiss on the show Downton Abbey.
Unlike Greece, advertisements in the US have often positively portrayed the LGBT community.
“A lot has changed in the past two years. There’s no more boycotts or negative press,” GLAAD’s VP of Communications Rich Ferraro told 429Magazine when the pro-gay Amazon.com ad appeared.
“Americans expect to see gay and lesbian couples and families in the media today. The advertising industry may not be exposed to LGBT issues as much, like television, but they are catching up.”
Considered a lucrative demographic, companies like Google, the Gap, JCPenny, American Apparel, Absolut and countless others have targeted the LGBT community.
The Greek system of fraternities has also become gay-inclusive, disregarding its long history of homophobia with hazing and gay bashing.
According to a 2012 Campus Climate Survey, LGBTQ students are experiencing an improved campus climate with hazing has banned by all national Greek fraternities.