Another controversial North Carolina roadside billboard is in the news, and again it is being called sexist.
A local jewelry store in Asheville has put up a sign saying “Sometimes, it’s okay to throw rocks at girls,” with the pun being that diamonds are rocks, too.
Web sites and Facebook pages quickly erupted with negative reaction to the billboard near Interstate 240, erected by Spicer Greene Jewelers.
“I find this billboard absolutely disgusting,” said one Facebook comment posted under the name Caroline Kernahan. “The message is not REMOTELY ‘cute’ or ‘funny’ and should never have appeared in print. What were you thinking?”
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Said another post from Cindy Gross: “Thanks for the horrible reminder of the boyfriend who pulled a knife on me, the countless harasments dismissed as ‘boys will be boys,’ and the people in my life who tried to make up for bad actions by buying me something. Thanks but no thanks.”
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported protests were being planned outside Spicer Greene Jewelers, including calls for local politicians and women’s groups to publicly denounce the billboard.
Spicer Greene Jewelers posted an apology on Facebook Thursday afternoon, after getting wind of the controversy. It has also reportedly agreed to donate 10 percent of its sales through Sunday to charity.
“To whom we have offended with our recent billboard, please accept our apologies. We do not condone violence of any kind toward any being. We are humble enough to realize when we make a mistake and humble enough to realize the context in which we are speaking. We did not intend to cause controversy and our billboard communicated something we did not intend. We intended the billboard as a play on words to encourage the loving act of gift giving and are deeply saddened that it offended anyone.”
The billboard comes just weeks after public outcry and roadside protests erupted over a billboard on Interstate 40 West near Winston-Salem. The board read: “Real men provide. Real women appreciate it.” The billboard belongs to Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising, which said the organization that bought the space didn’t want to be identified.
Another sign later replaced the message, and angered even more people:
“Much Ado About Nothing. A social experiment that brought forth those so immersed in their own insecurity that in the mirror they could only see an angry victim of their incorrect interpretation of a silly billboard – Bless their hearts.”