Fire brigade pulls gay recruitment ad after staff complaints

LONDON - The London Fire Brigade has been forced to pull a recruitment advertisement that appeared in the gay media with the line 'Fancy pulling an older woman?', after complaints from women firefighters that it was tasteless.

In small print under the sentence "Fancy pulling an older woman" were the words "Out of a car, from a burning building or just out of danger?"

The ad, which also appeared in national press, was created by agency Work Comms to encourage women to take on a role typically seen as a man's job.

The London Fire Brigade said it is actively seeking to encourage applicants "from all sections of the community, including gay and lesbian people".

The ad will be replaced by a new campaign entitled "Be seen at the hottest places in town".

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "This advertisement was part of an overall campaign aimed at encouraging applications from women who may not have previously considered a career as a firefighter.

"A decision was taken to withdraw the ad after we became aware that some women firefighters were unhappy with it."

The move comes after London Fire Brigade, in conjunction with TMP Worldwide Advertising, scooped a recruitment advertising award for a similar campaign called "Another Saturday night on the town".

The A5 leaflet was used to reach women attending a lifestyle show at London's Olympia Exhibition Centre in 2004, and featured as its central image a smoke stained cotton wool make-up removal pad, against a red background.

There are currently 5,788 uniformed operational staff working for the London Fire Brigade, including 167 women firefighters.

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