Billboard Ad for San Fernando Valley Strip Club Draws Community Ire in Bel-Air

Residents of one of L.A.’s most upscale communities are telling a major sign company that a billboard advertising a strip club more than a dozen miles away is unwelcome and should be removed from their neighborhood.

The Lamar Advertising billboard at Sepulveda Blvd. and Moraga Dr. in Bel-Air displays an ad for the “XPosed” Gentleman’s Club on Canoga Ave. in the west San Fernando Valley.  Lamar, a national billboard company with its headquarters in Baton Rouge, LA., owns an estimated 4,000 billboards in the city.

In an e-mail to Ray Baker, Lamar vice-president and general manager for the Los Angeles area, Bel-Air resident Helene Toomey wrote that the billboard is located at an intersection that is a main school bus pick-up and drop-off location for several neighborhood schools.  Toomey said, “I am requesting that your company show some consideration for upholding the decency of our neighborhoods and display your pornographic ads in more suitable locations, instead of contributing to the degradation of our upscale residential neighborhoods.”

In an e-mail response, Baker said, “We take, very seriously, our commitments to our advertisers and their First Amendment right to free speech. With that being said, we agree that some discretion must be observed with the communities that we operate.”

Baker attached a copy of Lamar’s “Advertising Copy Acceptance Policy” which says the following :

Lamar will accept copy for a sexually-oriented business (SOB) with the following guidelines:

-Lamar’s local General Manager, in consultation with the Regional Manager, will decide which areas within his/her market are appropriate for SOB ads.

-No photographs or silhouettes will be accepted except tasteful head shots.

-Written copy must not be offensive.

-No SOB copy will be accepted near churches, schools or other such places.

-Regional Managers may impose stricter guidelines on the acceptance of SOB copy.

-Less restrictive guidelines apply in Las Vegas, NV and Times Square, NY.

Last year, a Lamar billboard for the same strip club generated similar complaints from residents of Westwood Village.  The company’s billboards have  also displayed ads for the strip club in other parts of L.A.’s westside, including Venice and West L.A.

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by Dennis Hathaway

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