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A billboard depicting a US soldier with his arm around a Muslim woman wearing a niqab has been denied a place in New York City’s Times Square because of a fear the picture would be too polarizing - reports RT News.
The advertisement was developed for an anti-snoring mouth spray from a company called SnoreStop. Along with the picture in question, the billboard also features the Twitter hashtag #BeTogether and a tagline reading “SnoreStop: keeping you together.”
The California-based pharmaceutical company has also used the tongue-in-cheek motto: “If we can keep this couple together, we can keep anyone together.”
It is also expected to be posted soon in Chicago, Illinois, but SnoreStop said that any goodwill was not evident during a recent conversation with Clear Channel communications, which denied SnoreStop’s bid for the Times Square ad.
“They flat out rejected it,” Darren Shuster, a spokesman for the public relations firm representing SnoreStop, told DNAinfo.com, a New York news site, on Friday. SnoreStop acknowledged that “an American military figure and a Muslim woman holding each other is bound to raise eyebrows.”
Clear Channel is among the owners of the high-priced ad space in Times Square, but company representatives refused to comment on the matter. Executives said Clear Channel rejected the idea “because of its ‘sensitive nature’ and ‘uncomfortable imagery.’”
In fact, according to Fox 5 in San Diego, the ad was inspired by actual veteran Jamie Sutton and his Muslim wife, Aleah. While they are not the pair depicted in the image, SnoreStop officials maintained that they too are an actual couple.
"I did this because I am no stranger to other people’s discrimination", Paul Evans, the US soldier on the billboard, wrote on Facebook. "Anyone should be with who they want to be with, that’s really what it’s all about".