The openly gay editor of US travel publication Travel + Leisure has defended an ad for Hilton Worldwide that it ran it is magazine showing a gay couple relaxing in bed together.
The ad, which ran in the June edition of the Time Inc-owned magazine, sparked a petition by the American Family Association (AFA), who branded it "unnatural and offensive". So far the petition has gathered almost 50,000 signatures.
In a statement on the Travel + Leisure website editor Nathan Lump said that he was proud the magazine ran the advert.
"Despite all the progress we have made in recent years, it’s still relatively rare to see depictions of gay life like what we see in that Hilton ad, including in “mainstream” magazines like ours," he wrote. "Few companies have the vision or the courage to do it. I was proud to run that ad in Travel + Leisure. I applaud our partners at Hilton for creating it, and I thank them for placing it with us."
The advert was promoting Hilton Worldwide's entire chain of hotel brands.
"There is nothing overtly sexual about the image, and the men are not even shirtless (which is how I sleep, personally). It’s a shot that captures an intimate moment of happiness—maybe even love," added Lump.
Hilton also responded to the AFA petition and said: "Hilton Worldwide is a global company of diverse cultures serving diverse guests. ... We are proud to depict and reflect our guest diversity in our advertising."