Airports Reject Fact-Based Women’s Equality Ads

Friday, August 22, 2014
(graphic: UltraViolet)

An organization that works for women’s rights has been denied the chance to advertise at major airports to tell incoming visitors about that state’s record on equality issues. Several airports have declined to run the ads, citing policies banning political ads.


The group, UltraViolet, has tried to place ads at airports in Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina and other states with factual information on issues such as pay equality and reproductive rights in those states. Airport officials rejected the ads because of their content. “We have a policy in which we do not accept political advertising at the airport and so the ad was declined on those merits,” Angie Tabor, manager of communications and media relations at the Columbus, Ohio, airport, told Bryce Covert of ThinkProgress. A spokesman for the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport responded in a similar vein: That facility “only accepts ads that are commercial or governmental in nature. The ad was neither. ”


UltraViolet says the ads aren’t political. They’re “designed to elevate issues like paycheck fairness, minimum wage increases, and paid family leave and to expose the ongoing attacks on women’s health and economic security,” Karin Roland of UltraViolet, told ThinkProgress. “The goal is to shame and pressure candidates with industries that rely on tourism to make them champions for these causes.”


UltraViolet is working on a plan to pay to advertise on billboards on the highways around airports so they’ll still hit their target market. Their ads have run at airports in Florida.


Other groups have fought off airport attempts to stifle their messages. In San Diego, the airport there settled a suit brought by PETA, which won the right to urge travelers not to visit Sea World. And a federal judge ruled that Philadelphia’s airport was wrong to reject an ad from the NAACP about the crowded U.S. prison system.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Airports Ban Ad With Basic Facts About Women’s Equality (by Bryce Covert, ThinkProgress)

Port Columbus Rejects Ad Criticizing Ohio’s Track Record With Women (by Laura Newpoff, Columbus Business First)

Bold Airport Campaign Exposes States’ Treatment Of Women (by Laura Bassett, Huffington Post)

NAACP Wins Court Victory over Philadelphia Airport Regarding Ad about Prisoners (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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