The Odeon, as well as Cineworld and Vue, have been criticised for banning a Christian advert on the grounds that it could offend their customers.
The cinemas initially said that the Digital Cinema Media (DCM), who provide their advertising, had a policy against showing any political or religious advertising. The Church of England, who commissioned the advert, have since provided evidence that DCM had approved the advert in July 2015 and agreed to a discounted price.
DCM also claimed that there was a written policy against accepting religious or political adverts but reporters for the Daily Mail discovered that this document was placed on the DCM web-site just a few hours before the controversy broke.
Richard Dawkins, a scientist and writer who questions religion, said:
“I strongly object to suppressing the ads on the grounds that they might offend people. If anybody is offended by something so trivial as a prayer, they deserve to be offended”.
In a statement the Odeon said:
“Like most cinema operators in the UK, the advertising in our cinemas is determined by the code of practise and policies of Digital Cinema Media (DCM). This includes clear guidance on both political and religious advertising”.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that the decision made by the cinemas was “ridiculous”.