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
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
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
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.