Protests by Muslims and Women Over Ad Campaign in Los Angeles Times

April 15, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On April 15, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Feminist Majority Foundation and the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have demanded that the Los Angeles Times pull parts of an advertising campaign that the groups claim are offensive. A $15-million advertising campaign in print and on television by the Los Angeles Times, tied with the slogan "Connecting Us to The Times," contains juxtaposed images of Southern California life with scenes representing Muslim societies in some of their ads. In one ad, a picture of bikini-clad women is next to women in Islamic attire, and another shows a California traffic jam alongside Pakistani army tanks. Court Crandall, Creative Partner at Ground Zero, the agency that created the advertisements, stated: "The content of newspapers is designed to be impactful and insightful, and it seems that their ads should be as well...It's a campaign that says, 'Here's what's going on in L.A., and here's what's going on around the world.'" CAIR has asked the L.A. Times to pull three of the ads that they have described as "deeply offensive to the 600,000 Muslims in Southern California." Kathy Spillar, national coordinator of the Feminist Majority Foundation, stated: "There's the question of The Times using women's bodies to sell an unrelated product...What does a bikini have to do with The Times?" The advertisements have also sparked a negative reaction inside the Los Angeles Times, where more than 200 members of the editorial department signed petitions demanding that the ads not be run.