Advertisers have publicly distanced themselves from the Saltshakers after the Christian Action Group used them to claim a moral victory against lesbian sex.

Roche, Just Jeans, Allianz and DaimlerChrysler have written to the Saltshakers, stating homophobia played no part in their decision not to advertise during The L Word.

All of the companies said their decision was based on Channel Seven’s policy of granting free advertising to regular customers during lower rating or untested shows.

If at some future point The L Word demonstrates proven, cost-efficient ratings versus our target audience, Roche would not hesitate to advertise in The L Word, Roche’s Marketing Manager Bradley Floyd wrote to Saltshakers chief executive Peter Stokes.

Floyd also wrote that Roche did not share The Saltshakers’ views on homosexuality.

The Corporate Communications Manager from DaimlerChrysler wrote to the gay press, stating the company had been caught in the middle of an emotionally charged debate focused on both the morality of The L Word and that of their perceived actions.

Sexual orientation does not influence the company’s placement of advertisements in any way whatsoever.

The Saltshakers launched an email, fax and letter campaign after The L Word launched on Channel Seven. They received letters, which were seen by journalists, from six companies promising not to advertise during the program.

Stokes rang the Sydney Star Observer last week following a report that he had set upon a Bent TV camera crew interviewing him about The L Word.

Stokes said he had been duped into an interview with Bent TV, a show on Melbourne’s community television network Channel 31. He also disputed a Bent TV crew member’s claim that Stokes had acted violently and threatened to break a camera.

Meanwhile an extra 64,000 Australians tuned in to the program following press reports on the advertising controversy. The L Word was watched by 411,000 people on Wednesday 28 April compared to 347,000 the previous week.

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