Gay activist quits ASA post over job conflict

Duncan Lustig-Prean, the deputy director-general of the Advertising Standards Authority, has left after only three months at the organisation amid ASA claims that his role as a gay rights activist created conflict with his job at the advertising watchdog.

Duncan Lustig-Prean, the deputy director-general of the Advertising

Standards Authority, has left after only three months at the

organisation amid ASA claims that his role as a gay rights activist

created conflict with his job at the advertising watchdog.



The former Royal Navy lieutenant commander and a leading member of the

campaign to lift the armed forces’ ban on homosexuals, left the ASA last

week, halfway through a six-month contract.



News of Lustig-Prean’s sudden exit was broken to members of the

Committee of Advertising Practice by Matti Alderson, the ASA’s

director-general. She said that although Lustig-Prean had been asked to

do nothing to promote the campaign in a way that involved either the ASA

or CAP, it became clear that his job had ’proved incompatible with his

activities conducted on behalf of other organisations and

individuals’.



But the parting - which was claimed by the ASA to have been ’by mutual

consent’ - has dismayed some industry representatives who have been

impressed by his independent and forthright views.



Lustig-Prean is believed to have been working on an internal report

reviewing the weaknesses of the self-regulatory system and to have

expressed private concerns that Lord Rodgers, the ASA chairman, was too

remote from the organisation. ’He was clearly his own man and the

forcefulness of his views will not have been welcome,’ an industry

source said.



Lustig-Prean, who had been tipped for a military advisor’s post in

Downing Street, was sacked from his pounds 35,000-a-year service job in

January 1995 after he had admitted his homosexuality to avoid a

blackmail threat. He came to the ASA in April as a replacement for

Christopher Ogden, who had joined the Tobacco Manufacturers

Association.



As secretary of Rank Outsiders, a support group for gay servicemen and

women, he was one of four homosexual and lesbian ex-servicepeople who

were unsuccessful in challenging the ban in the High Court earlier this

year. They now plan to appeal to the House of Lords and, if necessary,

the European Court of Human Rights.



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