New message on a Triad billboard is generating protest

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A billboard on westbound Business 40 between Greensboro and Winston-Salem is raising objections.

The sign reads, “Real men provide, real women appreciate it.”

The billboard belongs to Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising. President Bill Whiteheart, a former Republican member of the Forsyth County Commission, said his company is not sponsoring the message.

“The message is a paid message,” Whiteheart said in a voicemail message to Triad City Beat. “We understand very well, I’m sure as you do, the Constitution of the United States, and it is a ‘freedom of speech’ type message where the parties that have paid for that advertising are conveying a heartfelt message to the public.

“I have contacted them with regard to disclosure of their identity, and the response that I have gotten to share with you is that they will have a forthcoming announcement in the future,” he added. “And other than that, that’s all I’m permitted to discuss on their behalf yet.”

Whiteheart told TCB that his company does not “accept advertising that we consider in poor taste,” adding that he doesn’t consider the message from his anonymous client to be out of bounds.

But the billboard has upset people in the Triad who feel it delivers an antiquated, misogynistic, even transphobic message.

Kleur, a boutique and community makerspace in downtown Winston-Salem owned by Molly Grace, has created a Facebook event to protest what the sign represents.

“We are not protesting that the sign is capable of existing, or the people who put it up, or the ad agency, or the right to put it up,” the event page reads. “We are protesting patriarchy and sexism, and that this antiquated way of thinking about women exists at all. We are protesting the implied demand that women be silent and appreciate, regardless of whatever circumstances, their role as non-providers.”

The protest takes place on Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. under the billboard, which is next to the Linville Road exit on Business 40 near Kernersville.

Grace recommends consulting the Facebook event before attending, as it will be updated with new information.

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