SHowing Animals Respect and KindnessSHARK
Group opposed to pigeon shooting upset over billboard denialWednesday, March 03, 2010
By Tom Barnes
Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG -- A group opposed to pigeon shooting is accusing a Philadelphia billboard company of refusing to erect an anti-shoot billboard in order to avoid offending state Attorney General Tom Corbett.
The Illinois-based group, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, said Tuesday it had paid Clear Channel Outdoor more than $2,600 to erect a billboard listing a website that protested the killing and wounding of live pigeons, which the group says occurs in some Eastern Pennsylvania counties and which it is trying to stop.
SHARK official Stuart Chaifetz said the billboard was supposed to have gone up Monday along heavily trafficked I-95 in Philadelphia but was killed by Clear Channel because of "content on (our) website," www.PAshame.org.
Mr. Chaifetz claimed that a Clear Channel official in Philadelphia, George Kauker, "admitted the real reason he killed the billboard was because he felt the website was an attack on Corbett," who is the leading Republican candidate for governor. Mr. Chaifetz said the website doesn't attack Mr. Corbett but merely contains "a letter asking Mr. Corbett to use his authority to stop what we believe are illegal pigeon shoots and information on how people can contact him."
Another SHARK official, Steve Hindi, last week sharply criticized Mr. Corbett for not taking legal action to stop the shoots. But Corbett aide Nils Frederiksen said the attorney general has no authority to stop such shoots and that it's up to county officials to enforce anti-cruelty laws. Another Corbett spokesman, Kevin Harley, said Mr. Corbett didn't talk to Clear Channel about the billboard and had nothing to do with the decision to kill it.
Mr. Kauker read a statement saying that Clear Channel local managers "reserve the right to reject advertising copy if the copy or any website it promotes doesn't meet their community's standards for appropriateness, or the copy is deemed offensive toward any business, group or individual." He declined to elaborate.
Mr. Chaifetz said he may ask the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia to look into what he called "this violation of free speech."
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