Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lamar Advertising's Anti-Gay Censorship

One point of Karolina Bregula's art is to increase the visibility of a segment of the population in her native Poland that is still struggling for recognition, the gay and lesbian community. As she's done in Poland, her project includes billboard images of same-sex couples holding hands. Here are examples

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.)

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."
And this is not the first time Lamar has rejected pro-gay messages. Last year in Georgia, they censored one too:

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."

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:

Lamar Advertising of Hartford
Dan Giordano
32 Midland Street
Windsor, CT 06095-4334


Anonymous bambino said...

Shame, shame, shame

11/15/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Why do people assume that two people of the same sex holding hands are gay?

That's what I find fascinating,

I've never been much of a hand holder. When I like someone I walk with my arm around their shoulder until they suffocate,


Cedric Caspesyan

(ps: a good alternative to this would be mix straight and gays in the same position and add the words "do you think we're gay?"...I have the worst gaydar, I would have fun)

11/15/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Anonymous jec said...

What's happening to Connecticut? First Lieberman and now this???

Really disgusting.

11/15/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Lamar is a dickhead.

11/15/2006 08:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lamar isn't concerned about bigots vandalizing the board, they could care less if the paper or vinyl is damaged. They don't have to replace it. Bottom line, what they care about is loss of revenue. They're afraid that other businesses will stop advertising with them.

3/04/2008 11:57:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home