Content Note: Images with racist language are in this post. Images with Nazi symbols are in this post.
Remember the electronic billboards with hateful rhetoric located in Worthington, Armstrong County owned by John Placek?
Here are some reminders
One is that Placek teamed up with Owen Osterling to erect additional signs along Route 422 in Summit Township, Butler County. They got a lot of attention because of the content and graciously agreed to remove the swastika as a show of good faith or something. Owen Osterling is a distant cousin of mine and my maternal grandmother was from Summit Township. In fact, the billboards are less than a mile from where she grew up. That’s sobering.
The second thing is that the Armstrong County Democrats purchased a billboard of their own to erect in Worthington to “respond to hate speech with more speech.” It was crowdfunded, but the property owner had decided to make them take it down because he’s receiving death threats. He has not reported those death threats to the police. Instead, he called his billboard rep. Like you do.
The Committee contracted for the board to be placed for a minimum of one month, and the billboard company, Huntington Billboards of Greenville, Ohio, erected the sign.
However, within a few days, they decided they would remove the message, citing a provision in their contract which allows them to remove billboards which are “objectionable or that attracts negative publicity or controversy from the community.” The billboard was removed within one week after it was placed according to a press release issued by the Committee.
A representative of Huntington claimed that the company had been told by the landowner where the billboard is located that he had received death threats and feared for his life as a result of their board’s placement.
Chuck Pascal is chairman of the Armstrong County Democratic Committee.
Huntington’s website claims that “We truly love the small towns and cities that make up our company.” But Pascal claims “Huntington’s love apparently only extends to only to the racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT sentiments in those towns, and not to everyone.”
“People should know that Huntington Billboards caters to bigotry, and apparently would prefer to have an unrented space to a message which expresses support to an entire population of the small towns they claim to love.” Pascal said.
John Placek and cousin Owen Osterling have planted their position firmly into the ground. There is no persuading them. The only choice is to hold in-betweeners like the billboard company responsible and to put out positive signs.
If you wonder if you need to take some action, go back up and read the signs.
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