This week’s gold medal for Roguery goes to Clear Channel Outdoor.
The billboard giant first flexed its corporate muscle in June on the Iraqi Children’s Campaign, refusing to take $2,100 for a billboard (pictured) that the campaign wanted to put up in any prominent location around Portland.
“It is not like there is a picture of a blown-up Iraqi child,” says Steve Geiger, founder of the Iraqi Children’s Campaign (a project of the Oregon Wildlife Federation, the campaign is a nonprofit whose mission includes peace and justice along with the environment).
“The billboard was simply meant to create empathy for innocent wartime children,” Geiger says. “It was not meant to be a political statement.”
Fast forward to last Friday when Brad Parsons, Clear Channel regional general manager, agreed after two months to meet with the Iraqi Children’s Campaign for the first time.
Geiger wonders why Parsons bothered, because he says the first thing out of Parsons’ mouth at the meeting was, “I absolutely refuse to comment on this.”
Parsons also didn’t return WW’s phone messages.
Even if Clear Channel believes the “Every Child Matters” billboards stray into politics, it’s not as if the company doesn’t rent billboard space to political causes in Portland.
There are two Clear Channel billboards along 82nd Avenue displaying views against abortion and for the troops.
Says Geiger: “To deny an apolitical billboard campaign that only seeks empathy for all innocent children affected by war is an all-time low.”