Subject: Pope AIDS ads controversial
From: Scot Bear
December 7, 1995
POPE AIDS ADS CONTROVERSIAL NEW YORK -- A poster that uses Pope John Paul II to grab attention for a new AIDS fund-raising campaign is too controversial and won't be used,organizers said today.
"We won't be running it because people would focus on it as a personal attack, and deflect attention from AIDS," said Jay Blotcher, spokesman for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, or AmFAR.
"If The Pope Had AIDS, He'd Need More Than Just Your Prayers," declares the poster.
Scheduled use of the ad in 17 U.S. cities has been canceled, Blotcher said, denying a published report that the poster would still appear in New York City.
"After a lot of thought, we've decided not to run this," said shoe designer Kenneth Cole, who created the poster for AmFAR. "We are afraid the controversy would obscure the message we want people to think about."
"Distasteful," said Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for New York Cardinal John O'Connor. "If they are alleging somehow the Catholic Church has not done enough to care for people with AIDS or done enough to call for research and resources for finding a cure for AIDS, they are just plain wrong."
Six other posters in the ad campaign feature the president and the speaker of the House in an effort to combat "the growing apathy and complacency" about AIDS, said AmFAR President Mervyn Silverman. The ads say the politicos "would need more than just your vote."
He said AmFAR is $3 million in debt and has had to cut back on some research grants. The group has been known for its celebrity links; Elizabeth Taylor has been a major supporter.
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