IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Settlement reached in Times Sq. billboard flap 

An antiwar group has reached an agreement with media giant Clear Channel Communications over a controversial billboard that was set to be displayed in Times Square during the Republican convention in New York.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An activist group and media giant Clear Channel on Thursday settled a dispute over an anti-war billboard that would have loomed over Times Square during the Republican National Convention and until Election Day, the group said.

Project Billboard has agreed to two billboards to run during the convention — a giant peace dove and a ticker displaying the cost of the war in Iraq in dollars.

That proposal replaces one that would have shown a stylized bomb and fuse decorated in stars and stripes above the message, “Democracy is best taught by example, not by war.” Clear Channel had objected to a bomb image in New York.

The 105-foot-long dove will be decorated in stars and stripes and retain the message about democracy, said Deborah Rappaport, a board member for the group.

“We are very pleased that we were able to reach an agreement without going back to court,” Rappaport said. “We are gratified that our message will get up, and we were able to fulfill the mission.”

A message left with Clear Channel on Thursday was not immediately returned.

Dove flies until OctoberThe ticker will hang from Aug. 2 until December, and the dove until October, Rappaport said. The four-day Republican National Convention begins Aug. 30 at Madison Square Garden, about 10 blocks south of Times Square.

Project Billboard

Project Billboard had signed a contract for a 69-by-44-foot billboard displaying a bomb, but Clear Channel Spectacolor, which leased the space to the group, had concerns about the message, according to papers filed in Manhattan federal court by the group.

The $368,000 contract allowed Clear Channel to revoke the billboard if it was deemed obscene, “misleading or deceptive” or “offensive to the moral standards of the community,” court papers said.

Project Billboard, a nonprofit group devoted to “diversity, tolerance and free expression,” has begun a fund-raising drive to place billboards nationwide, Rappaport said.

Clear Channel, the nation’s largest radio chain, has been accused of promoting right-wing politics and banning artists with whom it disagrees — including the Dixie Chicks, whose lead singer disparaged President Bush.

The company is a major donor to Republican political candidates.

The company denies banning the Dixie Chicks from airplay and says pro-war rallies held by some stations during the Iraq war were the work of individual radio hosts and managers, not a corporate directive.