Skip To Content

    Sadiq Khan Has Just Banned Body-Shaming Adverts From London Buses And The Tube

    "No one's confidence or body image should be undermined," the London mayor said.

    @everyoneisetra / Via Twitter

    London mayor Sadiq Khan has banned adverts that could cause body confidence issues as part of new plans to "strengthen" Transport for London's (TfL) advertising rules.

    He said he was "extremely concerned" about advertising that could demean people, particularly women, and make them "ashamed of their bodies" as he announced the move on Monday.

    "Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this," he said.

    As a result he will work with TfL and a new steering group to assess adverts with a view to preventing campaigns such as Protein World's widely criticised "Are you beach body ready?" billboard from appearing across the transport network.

    The advert, which featured a slim woman in a bikini to promote its weight-loss supplements, received thousands of complaints, with the image widely parodied and defaced.

    The move was broadly welcomed online after Khan tweeted the news.

    No one's confidence or body image should be undermined by ads on our transport system. I've strengthened @TfL policy

    @MayorofLondon @TfL thank you! The messages we see around us have such an impact. That sort of visual bullying isn't healthy.

    This caused huge furore last year @MayorofLondon - well done for keeping a check on @TfL #bodyimage ads!

    Sadiq Khan changing rules on unhealthy body image ads on the tube is great.

    However, some people took the piss and said he was a "cry baby".

    Others went a step further and accused him of trying to introduce "Muslim values" to TfL and said he was in fact "banning adverts of uncovered women" by stealth.

    @SadiqKhan if you're going to remove the beach body advert, remove the vile corsodyl advert. I don't want to see teeth coughed up

    @MayorofLondon @TfL @standardnews so can we expect all of the ads for Erectile dysfunction or AI to be removed as they may cause offence?

    @MayorofLondon @TfL so does that mean all ads for weight loss products will be banned because they might upset some fat people?

    Some criticised Khan, meanwhile, for failing to freeze all TfL ticket prices, which was a key election pledge.

    So he can't keep his housing or tube fare promises but he'll ban adverts showing thin people

    Will @SadiqKhan ban ads containing unrealistic electoral promises of fare freezes on the tube as well, I wonder?

    TfL and Khan said the new rules would be introduced next month.

    Graeme Craig, TfL's commercial development director, added: "Advertising on our network is unlike TV, online, and print media. Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment.

    "We want to encourage great advertising that engages people and enhances the transport network."

    The company will run a steering group to assess proposed adverts and whether they could reasonably be seen as likely to cause pressure to conform to an unrealistic or unhealthy body shape, or as likely to create body confidence issues.