'So Gay' Tourist Ad Stirs Flap in South Carolina

Negative reaction to posters could hurt tourism industry
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2008 12:01 PM CDT
Protesters from the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement, lead by Bruce Coverse, front, march silently outside the Township Auditorium, in Columbia, S.C.   (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)
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(Newser) – "South Carolina is so gay," announce posters in the London Underground. Part of an advertising campaign targeting visitors to London's gay pride events, the posters have set off a backlash in South Carolina, drawing sharp criticism from senator David Thomas and resulting in the resignation of a state staffer involved in the ad campaign, reports the Greenville News.

The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism said it would refuse to pay the $5,000 ad bill. But the negative backlash could cost the state even more. "In a time like this when the economy is on everyone’s mind, we should be looking for ways to boost tourism dollars, not hinder them or shut them down," said one activist.