Lamar Advertising's Anti-Gay Censorship
As part of a very large exhibition of contemporary Polish art at Hartford Connecticut's miraculous arts center Real Art Ways (curated by Marek Bartelik), Ms. Bregula's work was to be posted on billboards in Hartford and New Britain. Lamar Outdoor Advertising company had agree to participate in the project, offering billboards for three of Bregula's works and two other text-based works.
Then, Lamar Outdoor Advertising changed their mind.
After initially agreeing to do the project, Lamar Outdoor Advertising rejected Bregula’s images, and refused to run them on the billboards. (The company gave the go-ahead to the two text-only billboards by another artist that didn’t have images, but Real Art Ways withdrew them in protest of Lamar Outdoor Advertising’s rejection of Bregula’s work.)And this is not the first time Lamar has rejected pro-gay messages. Last year in Georgia, they censored one too:
In a conversation with Real Art Ways’ Executive Director Will K. Wilkins, Lamar’s regional vice president and general manager, Steve Hebert, stated that the company was concerned that the images could be perceived as controversial, and perhaps be marked by graffiti. When asked by Wilkins if he had any groups in particular in mind, Hebert said he did not.
"To make a decision like this based on the anticipated actions of bigots," says Wilkins, "does a real disservice to the gay and lesbian community and the broader community as well.”
Marek Bartelik, guest curator of the show, says the images are no more provocative than "a print ad for the Gap or Bennetton."
I'm not big on blogosphere vigilantism normally, but if you felt the need to express your opinions on this directly to the folks at Lamar's corporate headquarters, you'll find their contact information here. And to share your thoughts with the folks most directly responsible for this recent decision, you might find this helpful:
Billboard company Lamar Advertising has rejected a series of ads from Georgia Equality, an LGBT rights group, that were scheduled to appear this fall in rural parts of the state.
The campaign, called "We Are Your Neighbors," features gay men and lesbians in various professions. A gay firefighter, for example, is captioned "I protect you, and I am gay. We are your neighbors." A lesbian doctor is similarly titled "I care for you, and I am a lesbian."
Lamar Advertising of Hartford
32 Midland Street
Windsor, CT 06095-4334