campaign urging African-American men to be tested for HIV
was pulled last week after black leaders complained about
the imagery in the print ads, The Philadelphia
Inquirer reports. The ads featured an
African-American man in the crosshairs of a gun, with
the tagline "Have you been hit?"
Ad developers say
the message they were hoping to convey with the ads was
that black men--particularly gay and bisexual
men--are at a very high risk of HIV infection
and that they should seek HIV testing to determine
whether they're already infected. But members of the
Black Gay Men's Leadership Council say the ad
campaign perpetuates violence against black men and
against gays. They say the ads are particularly disturbing
since gun violence is on the rise in Philadelphia; as
of August 6, 238 people have been shot to death in
Philadelphia this year.
"Above and beyond
the obvious issues of scapegoating and demonizing
HIV-positive people, for a campaign to simulate gun violence
in a city that has been ravaged by gun violence, I'm
almost speechless," Mark McLaurin, founder of the New
York State Black Gay Network, told the Inquirer.