News: UPDATE: T.I.'s Controversial Akoo Billboard Pulled From Street Due To Public Pressure
Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010 9:38AM
After causing controversy over its suggestive sexual theme, T.I.'s Akoo Clothing billboard has been replaced in Newark, New Jersey.
According to reports, its removal took place Tuesday (March 2) afternoon.
This ad was not just explicit, it was demeaning to women. After public pressure, including Barry Carter's column in the Sunday Star-Ledger, billboard owner CBS Outdoor removed it yesterday. In its place is another, more civilized ad for the same clothing company, rapper T.I.'s Akoo line. (Star-Ledger)
The poster's image struck controversy among the city of Newark earlier this week.
The billboard for AKOO -- which, incidentally, israpper T.I.'s clothing line -- is pretty clearly suggestive of some naughty behavior (a woman sitting in front of a man ... holding onto his unbuttoned jeans ... ahem), and the reaction in Newark and the surrounding area since it went up has been pretty intense. Barry Carter for the Star-Ledger first wrote about the billboard on Sunday, calling it seemed like a specific blow to Newark, even quoting City Council President Mildred Crump as saying she was "sick of people seeing Newark as a place where they can just do whatever they want ... They think they can just put it in a black community and nobody is going to say or do anything." (NBC New York)
A statement from Akoo was released shortly after the matter became public.
"The AKOO brand has always aimed to inspire individualism and creativity. Our advertising campaign was not created to offend or insult anyone but to simply provoke dialogue and thought regarding male/female sexuality within urban culture. We hope that as more of the campaign is debuted, people will see the multifaceted personality of AKOO." (Rap Radar)
Prior to its removal, CBS Outdoor billboard company executive Jodi Senese shared an alternate outlook on the image's message.
"It was a sexy, racy fashion ad, as they so often are," said Jodi Senese, executive vice president of marketing. There are more-explicit ads CBS will not post, she said, but this one didn't rise to that level. AKOO, whose clothing is distributed by Rp55 in Virginia Beach, Va., has not responded to requests for comment. The billboard raises another important question: Does demeaning women also sell? (NJ.com)
Check out footage of the Akoo controversy below: