New Jersey theater reverses course after pulling gay ad

A movie theater in Paramus, N.J., reversed course Tuesday just hours after it said it would no longer run filmed advertisements for a group of parents supporting gay rights because of complaints. The Loews Cineplex told the group Tuesday afternoon it had changed its mind regarding the ads, which feature a rainbow background overlaid with the phrase "Someone you know and love is lesbian or gay." While the company did not disclose its rationale regarding the reversal, the decision drew praise from the Bergen County chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. "This morning, when they pulled the ad, I felt like I'd been hit in the stomach with a fist," Ellen Schwartz, the gay rights group's former president, told The Record of Bergen County. "But they just called and told me they were reversing themselves, and now I feel wonderful!"

The public relations firm for Loews said corporate officials had no comment on the matter. And Screenvision Direct, the company that handles advertising for Loews, confirmed the change of heart but did not explain it. The advertisements feature the support group's logo and its hot line phone number. The 20-second ad began running June 11 and is to continue for 56 weeks at a cost of $7,932. Under the contract it is to cycle through three times before each screening in each of the theater's 10 auditoriums. The ad's copy is identical to one the group displayed on billboards four years ago.

Loews Cineplex Entertainment is one of the world's largest theater exhibition companies, with 2,835 screens in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The company is privately owned.

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