By: Randy Dotinga

Modifications Are Requested

Sometimes a lollipop is just a lollipop – but not when it’s
attached to a woman wearing nothing but high heels.

Citing its overt sexuality, about 50 daily newspapers have
rejected a risqué ad for a new arthouse movie called “The Center
of the World.” The ad features a coyly nude woman about to enjoy
a lollipop, with one leg strategically placed over her nether
regions and the other stretched skyward. The unrated Wayne Wang
film, which opened last week in New York, Los Angeles, and San
Francisco, tells the story of an Internet millionaire who hires a
stripper to accompany him to Las Vegas.

Dailies in cities as diverse as Tucson, Ariz., Tulsa, Okla., and
Charlotte, N.C., didn’t like “the graphic images shown and what
they implied,” said Paul Pflug, a spokesman for the film’s
distributor, Artisan Entertainment. “Alternative weeklies ended
up liking the ads, but they are much more edgy publications.”

According to Artisan, several newspapers, including The
Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle,
agreed to run a second ad featuring a side profile of the high-
heeled woman from the chest upward. The Los Angeles Times
rejected both ads based on its “comprehensive set of standards,”
which are proprietary, said spokesman David Garcia.

However, the L.A. Times did run an ad after cropping the
entire photo except the outstretched leg. The New York
Times cut the graphic entirely and ran only the text part of
the ad: “WARNING. SEX. Come closer. Enter.” Later, it allowed an
ad with an awkward-looking image of two legs and the face of a
woman ready to lick … an airbrushed something or other. (A
postage stamp, perhaps?)

The New York Times declined to discuss the negotiations
that resulted in the revised ads, but spokeswoman Kathy Park told
E&P that the paper doesn’t redesign questionable ads

Randy Dotinga is a free-lancer based in San Diego.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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