Wednesday, 21 May 2008

No 'Sex' in Israel! Towns ban raunchy title

Wednesday, May 21st 2008


JERUSALEM - There'll be no sex in two Israeli cities - at least not on the billboards.

Ad execs in Jerusalem and Petach Tikvah, near Tel Aviv, have censored their billboard campaigns for the "Sex and the City" movie, telling the film's distributor to remove the word "sex" from the ads for fear of offending religious Jews.

Maximedia, the Israeli billboard company handling the "Sex and the City" campaign, ordered Forum Film distribution to remove the offending word and replace it with three dots.

Instead of "Sex and the City," it will simply be "... and the City."

"This is simply ridiculous. The word 'sex' is part of the movie's title," complained Arye Barak of Forum Films. "The news was a great shock. We have not asked to advertise nudity."

"This is the name of the movie," he said. "We feel that it is ridiculous to prohibit us from advertising the brand without naming it."

Meir Shamir, assistant director of sales and marketing at Maximedia, said the company has long had an understanding with local authorities who "have requested not to put up the word 'sex' because it bothers them."

"If we don't leave out the word [sex], it's probable that the past will repeat itself and our signs will be mutilated. It certainly bothers a certain population," Shamir said.

Provocative campaigns for fashion, movies and lingerie have in the past triggered outraged responses from the ultra-orthodox, who dress modestly.

Sometimes the protests have turned violent, with billboards and other property being damaged or burned down.

A "Spider-Man" movie poster was redesigned for Jerusalem when advertising executives decided that Tobey Maguire was too close to Kirsten Dunst.

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