Thursday, August 3, 2006

No to Just Say No

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Hollywood may not be circling the wagons around Mel Gibson, but some aren’t willing to take shots at him, either.

A group of Los Angelenos who have been trying to buy billboard space on Sunset Boulevard says they keep getting turned down once billboard companies learn the content of the proposed sign: Gibson’s face with the international sign for “no” over it in red.

“We wanted to make a statement that anti-Semitism is not okay in Hollywood — or anywhere else,” says publicist Andy Behrman, who is spearheading the effort. “They tell us it will be fine, and then when they learn we want to protest Mel Gibson, there’s suddenly some problem.”

Behrman says that he even got an okay for a $40,000 deal from Regency Outdoor to erect the sign on a billboard at Sunset and Holloway on Aug. 15, but was told that the sales rep “had to run this by my boss.” He got a call back saying “my boss doesn’t want to touch this Mel Gibson thing,” Behrman tells The Scoop.

Behrman says he’s been told that billboard operators don’t want to risk alienating studios, who account for most of their ad dollars and might want to work with Gibson if the controversy over his recent drunken, anti-Semitic tirade dies down.

When called for comment, Regency Outdoor co-owner Brian Kennedy demanded to know The Scoop’s source, and when we declined to offer that information, he angrily hung up.

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