Furore over River Island’s ‘Gender Free’ advert with gay kiss

A “seriously inappropriate” advert for clothing retailer River Island has provoked outrage among parents when it was aired at 4pm.

The 30 second advert features a gay kiss and a model labelled ‘100% gender free’.

Parents and other shoppers have voiced their displeasure on social media after it was broadcast well before the watershed.

‘Very sexualised’

Commenting on River Island’s Facebook page, one parent said: “My 10 year old daughter asked me to write to river island as she was shocked to see this on tv.

“After watching it back I have to say I agree I cannot believe this was aired on tv and especially during the daytime when children may be watching.

“To say it is provocative wouldn’t be enough. It’s very sexualised and very in your face!!!”

Another commented: “Jumping on an agenda driven bandwagon….. will lose customers who will be so sickened by PC overreach….”


Twitter users were similarly annoyed at the advert’s nature, with one mum saying: “Not being funny I’m all for equality but I don’t see adverts with men & women kissing.

“So having my 5 year old ask me why 2 women are kissing is just not something I should have to deal with!! I don’t allow her to watch any program that would have kissing at all!!! Inappropriate!”

Another user said: “What happened to post watershed? I don’t want to watch groping and slobbering sexual activity by any gender not ok @riverisland”.

And one user said the advert had made him “100% determined” never to shop at River Island again.


The advert is part of a wider marketing campaign dubbed “Labels are for clothes”, which features another model who is labelled ‘100% woman’, despite being born male and having not undergone any surgery.

Of all the models used in the campaign, a third openly represent the LGBT community, which is drastically higher than the estimated 2 per cent of the general population they make up.

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