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Animal-Sex Beer Ads Removed

February 20, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ A brewing company on Friday withdrew a national ad campaign that featured animals mating after community leaders complained about the crude humor.

The poster ads for Steel Reserve High Gravity Lager, a malt liquor, drew criticism from civil rights leaders when it was hung up in store windows and pasted on buildings in Harlem.

It featured giant turtles and rhinos mating next to the caption ``Research Says Sex Sells Beer.″

``The advertising campaign was designed to be a broad scale campaign with the intent of presenting a satire on traditional beer company advertising. ... The company never intended to offend any person or group,″ the company said in a statement.

The ads had come under fire in New York from City Councilman Bill Perkins.

``They have no regard for the values and sensitivity for our community,″ City Councilman Bill Perkins said Friday. ``I called the advertising people and they said, `It’s a satire. It’s a joke.‴

He added: ``It’s not funny.″

Community leaders called for a boycott of the beer even though more than 30 stores in Harlem had removed the advertisement by Friday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, the Steel Brewing Co. of San Francisco said that it told its New York distributors to remove the posters but that the campaign would continue elsewhere. The ads also had appeared in New Jersey, Maryland and the Midwest and West.

In a statement, the beer company said that it did not mean to offend and that the ads ``are posted everywhere the beer is sold.″

But community leaders said the ads were targeted at blacks. They said the company apparently believed blacks would find the posters funny.

``You don’t see this in store windows on Park Avenue or in the community of Scarsdale,″ said the Rev. Calvin Butts. ``You see them in poor neighborhoods.″

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