Dear Editor – Offensive Advertising

Light bulb 0003Dear Editor:

I have been a Culver City resident for 20+ years and have been active in the community as a parent, teaching artist, and citizen. I know many people who have worked tirelessly by volunteering in various capacities to keep our city one for which we can be proud.

In spite of the efforts of many to keep our home a nice place to live, the recent ad blitz in Culver City for the film “Sex Tape” is a sad commentary about what seems to be OK when the almighty dollar is concerned.

I don’t think I need to explain why the ads are inappropriate when one considers 1) young kids learning to read, 2) adolescents needing guidance, 3) visitors from other cities and countries, and 4) what we want for our own community.

While I am very liberal in most ways, I find these ads to be offensive to women and think that they send a trashy, irresponsible message to the community. I am forced to see this on a daily basis for the past several weeks from near and far (see attached photos).

I realize this production company has the right to advertise, but doesn’t Culver City have anything to say about it? If this is OK, what’s next?

Thank you,

Liz Kinnon

The Actors' Gang


  1. Several years ago, the Culver City chapters of the MOMS Club were successful in removing an offensive billboard ad with a phone campaign to marketing or distribution company of a film about abuse of a female hostage.The woman was shown barely clothed, with obvious bruises, and a very frightened expression. These billboards, which prompted lots of questions from our pre-school and elementary school-age children, such as, “What happened to the poor lady in that show up there?” were conveniently posted on billboards on Los Angeles property along Venice Boulevard, directly across from Culver City territory. So in that instance, no, the Culver City government could not do anything.

    My recommendation is to call the Culver City City Council, or City Hall, and find out if these billboards are within Culver Citylines. If they are not, call the City of Los Angeles, or the County, depending on which entity the land belongs to. If you get no cooperation, contact the billboard company, then the marketing company for the film, then the film studio itself. When you find out who listens to your complaints, tell everyone you know (like on this and other sites).

    In our case several years ago, we learned that negative publicity and public protest of the advertising affects a film’s ability to get an MPAA rating, particularly one of “R,” or PG-13, which maximize its profit potential in the international market.

    “Sex Tape” may be past that point, but the makers of the film surely want to see it sold as a sexy comedy for a wide audience, not an edgy, offensive, gratuitous curiosity for a limited, adults- only segment of the market. When consumers threaten its mass-market appeal, the filmmakers and marketers get community-conscious very fast.

    When I have some time, I’m going to look into those billboards with the worm coming out of someone’s eyeball, and the nearly-naked American Apparel billboards.

  2. I’m curious where you’re seeing these. Other than what is posted on the Westfield Mall, billboards are illegal within Culver City borders.

  3. Dan: I referred to them as advertisements, but they might as well be billboards.

    I’m guessing the specific terms for these advertisements would be “poster” (a gigantic one on the Sony wall facing Washington Blvd.) and “digital sign” (also gigantic) sticking up high from the middle of the Sony lot). The sign is easily viewable and readable from as far as the Baldwin Hills Overlook and all the way up the hill. I had attached photos here but they were not printed with my letter.

    Elizabeth: I’ve already sent a letter to the City Council. Jim Clarke responded immediately and said he would look into it. I agree that the worm/eyeball billboard has no place in any decent community. It is the stuff nightmares are made of, and when I first saw the ad – in my face – as I drove down Sepulveda I was very angry and offended by it … and grateful that my kids are not little any more. Every day I saw it I wondered how it could be legal and resented that it was so distracting and negatively impacted my psyche.

    Again, what do we want for our children and our community? We are affected by our environment and need to be aware! Sadly, it is feeling to me like we are (collectively) becoming desensitized and our social conscience is being eclipsed by the almighty dollar.

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