Hoped To Avoid Bad Publicity

SC Tourism Gave “So Gay” PR-Related Green Light

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Boy, this is the scandal that won’t die!

Recently released emails reveal that South Carolina’s Tourism honcho, Chad Prosser, explicitly requested the controversial “So Gay” adverts stay up in London.

Once the scandal broke, however, Prosser and his colleagues told the press they were unaware of the campaign and, once made aware, tried to put a stop to it. That story’s a little shaky:

After the posters were put on London subway walls, state tourism officials heard about them. [And] Prosser said the state would not pay the nearly $5,000 for its share of the campaign, saying he doesn’t think it’s appropriate to use state tourism marketing funds to support any specific social agenda.

But PRT emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that, on July 3, Prosser told his staff the state would take part in the campaign. The email to London says, “Per Chad’s direction as of 4:40 p.m. today, (July 3) DO NOT ask the vendor to remove South Carolina from the campaign.”

The story broke on July 11th, at which point lawmakers had already squashed the campaign.

When asked about the email yesterday, Prosser admitted he requested the posters not be removed, but not because he endorsed their message: There was nothing that could be done to pull it. The campaign was going to end before that whole chain of events could take place.” Removing the posters and the accompanying outcry, he said, would have created a public relations nightmare. Too late.