Horror Film Icon Christopher Lee Banned From British Radio

For Immediate Release:
4nd December, 2000

Andrew Butler- 020 8870 3966


London: He’s all over the US airwaves, but, after years of scaring audiences in Hammer Horror films, Christopher Lee has, for the first time, been banned from broadcast in his own country. In a new radio ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal, Britain’s beloved actor warns that when you donate money to the British Heart Foundation “instead of saving a life, you cause suffering and death for not one, but thousands.” In the US, Mr. Lee is attacking the American Heart Association. The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre has banned the ads in Britain, deeming them too “political”.

To launch their health charities campaign, PETA planned to run the ads on Heart FM during the run up to Christmas to inform listeners that some charities, like the BHF, are still funding tests in which animals are given heart attacks and painful electric shocks, despite sophisticated alternatives. PETA contends that people have the right to know exactly where their money goes before they write a cheque to a charity.

Experiments funded by the British Heart Foundation have included cutting open dogs’ chests and circulating their blood out of their bodies and back in again, cutting away dogs’ blood vessels and nerves and then implanting them with electrodes, and cutting open cats chests, skinning their back legs and inserting tubes into their necks and legs before shocking the animals and injecting them with sodium cyanide.

“The giving public deserves to know how their donations are spent,” says PETA’s Andrew Butler. “Silencing Christopher Lee’s magnificent voice denies people the knowledge that they can choose from scores of cruelty-free health charities which fund only humane, effective non-animal research.”

For further information and to hear Christopher Lee’s radio ad, go to: www.britishheartlessfoundation.com

Following is PETA’s letter to the RACC.



Liz Graves
Radio Advertising Clearance Centre
Holbrook House
14 Great Queen Street

4th December, 2000

Dear Ms Graves,

I am writing in response to the RACC’s rejection of PETA’s radio ad featuring Christopher Lee. I believe your decision that the ad is unsuitable for broadcast is completely unfounded.

In your letter you state that the ad breaches rule 9a of the Radio Authority Advertising and Sponsorship Code states that ‘No advertisement may be broadcast by, or on behalf of, any body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature, and no advertisement may be directed towards any political end’. Our ad has no “political” message whatsoever. It is purely an educational ad, aimed at raising people1s awareness about where their money goes when they donate to the British Heart Foundation, it does not lobby for change on behalf of the government or even the BHF.

The RACC’s decision that the ad also breaches rule 15 of the RA Code which states that ‘Advertisements must not unfairly attack or discredit other products, advertisers or advertisements directly or by implication’ is entirely erroneous. The ad does not “unfairly attack” the British Heart Foundation, it simply tells the truth. Pointing out a fact which the BHF would rather keep secret, that they fund animal research, will only be seen as “discrediting” by those who oppose animal experiments. Certainly these people have a right to know that their money will be used to harm animals before they give to the BHF.

I ask the RACC to reconsider their decision on this matter.

Claudia Tarry
Special Projects Coordinator