'Racist' billboard to come down following public outcry
After overwhelming public backlash, an anti-abortion billboard in SoHo that some called racist was set to be taken down Thursday, according to the ad company that rents the space.
A spokesman for Lamar Advertising Company said the company received complaints about the sign, which was paid for by a Texas anti-abortion group, and that people who worked nearby were being harassed.
"It complied with our policy … but we don't want our policy to have negative impact on the people near the billboard, so we thought the best thing to do was take it down," said Hal Kilshaw, adding the company feared a protest Friday.
The three-story billboard at Sixth Avenue and Watts Street featured a young black girl with the words: "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb."
Politicians and New Yorkers alike condemned it, with some calling it racist.
"This ad was a disturbing ploy for attention. Removing it was the responsible and right thing to do," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Representatives for Life Always, the anti-abortion group that put up the billboard, didn't return requests for comment, but Chris Slattery, president of anti-abortion organization Expectant Mother Care FrontLine Pregnancy Centers, was unhappy it’s coming come down.
The mother of the young girl in the ad told myfoxny.com Thursday she was shocked to see her 6-year-old daughter, Anissa, on it.
"I would never endorse something like that ... especially with my child's image," Tricia Fraser said. Fraser didn't return calls for comment, but told MyFoxNY she took Anissa and her three other daughters to a modeling agency years ago and signed forms that permitted the photos to be used as stock images.