The Seattle Times refused to run an ad for a National Council of Jewish Women-sponsored production.
The Times said it would not print an ad for the Feb. 24 production of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” unless the artwork was altered, according to Lauren Simonds, the executive director of the council’s Seattle section.
The artwork comes from a poster showing a red valentine with what appears to be a vagina in the middle.
“They were very clear with us that they would not run the ad unless we altered the artwork,” Simonds said. “We were just as clear with them that that is not what the National Council of Jewish Women is about. It is not what the ‘Vagina Monologues’ is about.”
The Times’ vice president of advertising, Mei-Mei Chan, told the Seattle Weekly, which first reported the story, that “the artwork was something we didn’t feel was appropriate for our audience.”
Simonds said the artwork “is not explicit” and comes from an image in the play itself.
“The Vagina Monologues” is being performed in Seattle, as it is elsewhere in the nation, in honor of “V-Day,” which focuses attention on women’s empowerment. The performance is a fund-raiser for the council’s furniture bank for women and children survivors of domestic violence.
Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg of Temple B’nai Torah in nearby Bellevue, Wash., told the Seattle Weekly that one of her congregants designed the poster, which is hanging in her synagogue and at several other synagogues in the area.
“I was just very disappointed that the Times didn’t share our appreciation for what I consider to be tasteful and beautiful artwork,” she said.
Simonds said the Times’ rejection “was not particular to ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ women or Jews.” She noted the paper has reworded ads for penile erection aids, “and they have trouble with ads for bras” as well.