A bank in Croatia under fire from conservatives for running an ad that includes LGBT people.
Erste Bank’s new ad campaign promotes “the fellowship of all individuals in society, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation, sexual orientation or marital status.”
A minute-long commercial shows Croatians from all walks of life meeting in the street and heading toward a brighter future together. Among them is a trans woman and gay couple holding hands, each of whom appear in the spot for only a second.
“Croatia needs people who believe in themselves,” reads an accompanying tagline.
The anti-LGBT group CitizenGo, whose board includes National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown and Putin ally Alexey, lashed out at the spot, writing in an online petition, “Croatia needs people who believe in themselves, in marriage, [and] in the family.”
The petition claims Erste Bank’s ad “undermines the foundations of the Croatian society.”
CitizenGo previously co-sponsored the infamous “Free Speech Bus”, which denied trans people existed, and was met with protests in cities around the world earlier this year.
Croatian LGBT advocates have spoken out in support of the ad, though. “CitizenGo and the people around them must once and for all realize that Croatia is not just theirs, and it will never be just theirs,” read an op-ed on the Croatian LGBT site Crol. Crol has also launched a counter-petition on CitizenGo, calling the attack on Erste Bank “very hypocritical.”
Founded in Austria in 1918, Erste Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in Central and Eastern Europe, with more than 2,700 branches in seven countries serving nearly 16 million customers.