Bus chiefs have scrapped adverts promoting a controversial preacher’s visit to Blackpool after a public backlash.
Banner adverts have appeared on Blackpool Transport’s Palladium fleet promoting the Festival of Hope at the Winter Gardens, which will feature American evangelist Franklin Graham in September.
Blackpool Pride cancelled its two-day festival booking at the Winter Gardens, held in June, in protest at Graham’s appearance while MPs Gordon Marsden and Paul Maynard urged then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd to investigate whether Graham should be denied a visa.
In 2014, Graham suggested the devil is behind LGBT rights and activism, saying ‘when he [the President] fails to defend biblically defined marriage, and he openly and zealously advocates for gay rights... we know we are locked in a war against the Christian faith, not culture’.
He added: “The architect behind this offensive is none other than Satan himself.”
He has also been accused of making anti-Islamic comments.
A spokesman for Blackpool Transport said: “Blackpool Transport has recently been made aware of an advert in place on the side of some of our double decker buses.
“In light of customer feedback and reactions on social media which has resulted in heightened tension, we have taken the decision to remove all adverts relating to the ‘Time for Hope’ Festival with immediate effect. We will reimburse any income back to the advertising company.
“We work with multiple advertisers and third-parties and in no way do we endorse or support any advertisement which is placed on our vehicles.
Jane Cole, Managing Director at Blackpool Transport, said “The removal of these adverts is as a result of us listening and acting on customer and public feedback which we aim to do at all times.
“Blackpool Transport is a proud ongoing supporter of the Pride and LGBT+ communities and in no way did we intend to cause any distress or upset.”
“All buses carrying the advert will remain off the road until they have been removed.
The Festival of Hope event is due to take place on September 21-23.