Earlier this summer, the bus shelter pictured above displayed an ad for the movie, “Central Intelligence,” which depicted two men brandishing and blasting away with guns. But after complaints were raised about the bus shelter’s proximity to nearby schools, the ad was changed to a public service message featuring Smokey the Bear. (more…)
Students coming to Animo Venice Charter High school by bus from areas like Inglewood and South L.A. get off at a stop on Venice Blvd. and walk a half mile north on Lincoln Blvd. to the school campus. One a recent school day, this is what they’d have seen on their way to morning classes.
The Latino community of Boyle Heights just east of downtown Los Angeles has one of the highest poverty rates in the city. People in that community are also exposed to more billboard ads for alcohol and gambling than other, higher-income areas, according to a study by USC researchers.
Two weeks ago, we reported on complaints about an ad for the uber-violent “Duke Nukem Forever” video game on a Lamar Advertising billboard directly across the street from an L.A. elementary school and next door to a church. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office relayed those complaints to Lamar, and within 48 hours the ad was replaced by one advertising “Miss Jessie’s” hair care products at Target stores, with two smiling, curly-haired young women instead of the menacing Duke Nukem brandishing his automatic pistol.
On this past Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council adopted a resolution declaring June 18 as “Gun Violence Prevention Day” in the city. The unanimous vote followed speeches by six councilmembers decrying the havoc caused by firearms and their easy access, especially for the city’s youth.
One afternoon three years ago, just after classes let out, a 17-year old student at Venice High School in L.A. was shot and killed in the school’s faculty parking lot, just feet from two bus shelters in front of the school that now display movie ads with prominent depictions of guns. And just last month, a Venice High student was arrested for allegedly threatening to bring a gun to school and shoot other students, according to the L.A. Times.
Back in 2005, protests by parents and community leaders in a gang-ridden area of L.A. resulted in the removal of billboard ads depicting the rapper 50 Cent brandishing a gun in an ad for the movie, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”. Five years later, billboards and supergraphic signs around the city continue to display outsize ads with such depictions, sometimes right next-door to schools and in neighborhoods suffering from gun violence.
Big Guns Come Out in Defense of Digital Billboards: CBS Chief Moonves Urges L.A. Mayor to Oppose City Council Motions
Leslie Moonves, president of the CBS Corporation, has sent a letter to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urging him to use his powers to oppose any interference with the operation of the 101 digital billboards erected over the past two years by Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor. In his letter, Moonves says that CBS advertises its TV shows “extensively” on digital billboards, calling them an “exciting, flexible and attractive platform” for such marketing.
In 2006, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of a large-scale study of the effects of alcohol advertising on youth drinking. The conclusion: Exposure to alcohol advertising on TV, radio, and billboards contributes to increased drinking by underage youth, which in turn contributes to such problems as poor grades in school, risky sex, alcohol addiction, and car crashes.
On Wednesday morning, people traveling busy Lincoln Blvd. in Venice could have seen the bus shelter ad pictured at left above while listening on their car radios to news of a UCLA professor being shot to death in his office. Whether or not that grim news would have triggered any reflection upon the propriety of using the city’s public sidewalks for a display of men blasting away with guns is impossible to know.