Racy River North billboard removed after alderman’s request
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter February 20, 2013 12:06PM
Controversial billboard taken down at Clark and Ontario. | Stefano Esposito~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 20, 2013 4:43PM
A controversial River North billboard featuring a retired porn star and a lewd slogan is gone — but not the controversy.
“The First Amendment had been protected and we’ve all gotten the end result we desired, which was the removal of a racy billboard,” Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said Wednesday after convincing the billboard company to remove the sign late last week.
Not everyone is delighted.
“We are disturbed by the removal of our billboard,” said A.J. Perkins, in charge of marketing for the Toronto-based dating website, ArrangementFinders.com, which paid for the sign. “Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel knows more than anyone that based on the First Amendment this is an unfair act. We paid for the billboard to be up for one month and we are trying to get to the bottom of it being taken down. We are not surprised that some people don’t agree with the billboard but as they have a right to complain, the First Amendment gives us the right to keep it up.”
In a prepared statement Emanuel’s office said: “The mayor and the city had nothing to do with the sign coming down. This is the decision of a private property owner and it is within the owner’s rights to decide.”
Reilly said he knew he couldn’t force the billboard owner, Urban Core, to remove the sign, which features the slogan: “Because the best job is a B--- job.”
“I appealed to him as a downtown stakeholder, acknowledging I have no way to compel him to remove the sign ...,” said Reilly, who estimated “dozens” complaints had come into his office about the sign. “And he agreed to do the right thing.”
Reilly said he pointed out to the billboard owner that the sign, which was near Clark and Ontario and could be seen clearly from the Rainforest Cafe, was in an area that attracts large numbers of tourists — and, in particular, children.
In addition to the slogan, the billboard featured retired porn star Bree Olson, who gained mainstream fame as one of actor Charlie Sheen’s “goddesses.”