“Ads for a new security company featuring bullets and two men in flak jackets pointing assault rifles at viewers were removed Friday from 10 RIPTA bus shelters in Providence and other cities,” providencejournal.com reports, “after some Elmwood residents complained that the ads glorified gun violence in a neighborhood suffering from shootings.” Seriously? Seriously . . .
The complaints began Thursday evening with a Facebook post by Rachel Newman Greene, director of partnerships at the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, that the ads showed an “appalling normalization of violence, an assault on our neighborhoods and a reprehensible assault weapons-based ‘service’.”
H. Philip West, former executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island and an Elmwood resident, immediately took the cause to RIPTA and Lamar Outdoor Advertising, which has a contract for the bus shelters, and urged their removal. In emails, West wrote about hearing volleys of gunfire near his home on Stanwood Street, seeing a motorist gunned down near Calvary Baptist Church on Broad Street, and how a tenant, who was a graduate student from India, was terrified when a bullet shot through his window.
Sure. An ad for a security firm’s gonna amp-up gang banger violence in the Ocean State. Anyway, our pal Alan Korwin fought against a similar ban in Phoenix and won. The guys behind Brothers & Armed are not inclined to purse this matter further.
Brian Paige, owner of Brothers and Armed, said an advertising representative at Lamar designed the ad, which he liked. “I didn’t promote any violence,” he added. “I thought it looked nice because it had my name on it and my business.”
When a Journal reporter asked about his company, Paige repeatedly asked “Are you a cop?” and “Is this the Providence police?” before saying questions about Brothers and Armed were “none of your business.”
Paige formed Brothers and Armed Security LLC in June, according to incorporation papers. While the company website is scant, its WEBSTA Instagram page shows videos of Paige wearing a security badge, displaying guns and shooting targets, while offering armed and unarmed security for special events, businesses, malls, banks and celebrities.
Paige said he paid $300 for the ads, which went up on Sept. 7 and were supposed to run for a month. Murphy, at Lamar, said his company will design a new ad for Brothers and Armed.
I wonder if RIPTA bans ads for movies with posters depicting characters with guns . . .