Scroll To Top

Los Angeles TV stations reject syphilis ad

Los Angeles TV stations reject syphilis ad

Several Los Angeles TV stations are refusing to run a syphilis public service announcement, saying the content of the ad is "inappropriate," the Los Angeles Times reports. The ad, creased by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, features a character called "Phil the Sore," a lumpy red figure, that represents the sores associated with the sexually transmitted disease. In the ad, the syphilis character follows two apparently gay men as they go home to have sex together. The ad then shows the men, one now wearing a bathrobe and the other leaving, as one of them says, "Let's do it again sometime." The character then calls in his "family"--similar characters who carry boxes labeled "brain damage," "rash," and "blindness," all of which can result from syphilis infection. Five local TV stations refused to run the ad during prime-time hours, including affiliates for CBS, NBC, Fox, UPN, and the WB. Some offered to run it only late at night when children wouldn't be watching. Several cable TV stations, however, did agreed to run the PSA. Los Angeles County health officials worked with AHF to develop the ad to address the dramatic rise of syphilis infections among gay and bisexual men in Southern California. The number of newly reported syphilis infections in the county climbed from 93 in 2000 to 364 in 2003, with almost the entire increase occurring among men who have sex with men. A spokesman for AHF says the organization plans to file a complaint with the FCC over the TV stations' rejection of the ad. Los Angeles County public health director Jonathan Fielding says he doesn't believe the PSA is objectionable. "It's distressing to hear that some important public health messages are not being aired," Fielding told the Times. "My question would be, Is this content more 'adult' than others that are being shown in the evening hours?" A spokesman for the L.A. affiliate of CBS, which refused to run the ad, told the Times the station was troubled by the PSA because it "took such a light-hearted tone about a serious disease. We consider the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases to be a serious matter. It's an issue we have addressed and will continue to recognize through fair, accurate, and balanced news reporting as well as broadcasting public service announcements."

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff