Friday, August 18, 2006

Philadelphia yanks controversial ads for HIV testing depicting young black males & gun

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Health officials yanked public service advertisements urging HIV testing after a gay advocacy group expressed concerns about images depicting young black men in a gun’s cross hairs. “Putting the face of a black man in the cross hairs of a gun paints a damaging message about violence and black men,” Lee Carson, chair of the Black Gay Men’s Leadership Council, wrote in a letter to the city’s interim health commissioner last month. The $236,000 campaign, which ended abruptly Aug. 7, was geared at gay and bisexual men and featured the tagline, “Have YOU been hit?” “Given the violence perpetrated against gay men, it is not farfetched to see how this campaign fosters violence,” Carson wrote to interim Health Commissioner Carmen Paris. Paris said she “inherited” the campaign and only recently saw the ads. She added, “The right thing to do, of course, is not to promote any message that could be perceived as promoting violence.” The campaign was launched May 19 with ads on buses, television, postcards and a website. (Medical Report . Wash Blade . 19 August 2006)

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