Lamar Advertising, a national advertising firm headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, put up a provocative billboard in Boise and took it down less than 24 hours later.
“We’re concerned that the message at the bottom of the ad could be perceived as a threat,” Lamar’s Vice President of Governmental Relations Hal Kilshaw said, adding, “and the burning police car is inappropriate.”
The company issued a press release stating that the billboard was mistakenly put up due to employee oversight, and that proper procedures weren’t followed.
Once the management became aware of the billboard's contents, it was taken down.
“Lamar does not endorse the content of the ad, and we apologize for our error in displaying it. We are currently reminding our managers across the country about our copy acceptance procedures to ensure that any and all sensitive copy is reviewed and vetted properly in accordance with Lamar’s policy,” the press release stated.
The billboard read: “Black & Brown Folks Built This Country / (And We’re Doing It Again) / Join Us Or Get Out Of The Way.” Activist/organizer Tanisha Jae Newton stood by the message, stating that she was radically unapologetic.
“This message is for folks within impacted communities to know that people recognize them and see them and their power,” she said. “These communities need hope and empowerment.”
The billboard was designed with the help of artist Morgan Baxter, who was contacted by Newton and the idea of the billboard came to fruition.
“The main purpose of this is for people to see it’s not just a moment—it’s a movement,” said Baxter. "I think the message is very provocative but isn’t so extreme as to provoke violence.”
Newton stated that the costs of the billboard have already been covered after donations poured in following the unveiling of the ad. The group has enough money to run another ad.
She stated that will the help of the many who came up with the idea of the billboard, it was “really the community's billboard.”
Baxter and Newton defended the billboard’s message, with Baxter explaining: “We want to inspire hope for those that see the message as a positive one. For those that don’t, it can give them a chance to reflect on their own moral and political beliefs.”
“If people disagree, I welcome them to come to those types of events to engage,” Newton added. “Until then, they can do what the billboard says and get out the way!”
Sources: America Now