BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - In a reversal of its decision, Grey Outdoor LLC notified WECT Thursday afternoon it had pulled the ‘banned pandemic video” ad from its billboard in the Grissettown area.
The company released the following statement: “We notified watchuncensored.com that we were removing their ads from our displays. We hope everyone will remain safe during the pandemic.”
The billboard in Brunswick County had caught the eye of Ellen King as she drove by the junction of Highways 904 and 17 in the Grissettown area.
The ad pointed to what it called ‘the banned pandemic video’ and had a link to a website containing conspiratorial videos pertaining to COVID-19 and vaccine theories that oppose advice from trusted sources such as the Center for Disease Control.
King, who works as a mental health counselor, has helped people who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.
“Here we are working every bit of time we can to help the situation, then you have conspiracy theories trying to discredit and could really do some harm,” said King. “I think that was my biggest concern. Ultimately, when people go to that website and read it it’s not truthful.”
On Wednesday, the owners of the billboard, Grey Outdoor LLC, released this statement.
“As an advertising company it is our responsibility to remain neutral and our policy is to run most ads unless they are offensive or vulgar. The content of the ads does not necessarily reflect the beliefs of the company’s owner or employees.”
It appears the billboard advertising company changed course and reversed this decision.
King believed the billboard ad could be a detriment to public health.
“I am all for the freedom of speech, but I also think the bottom line is you have a duty if you’re in a community and you are a business owner that has one of those billboards,” said King. “Do you have a duty to your community to put honest material up? Especially when it comes to public health...so it was very disheartening.”
The website did not reveal the name of the organization behind the ad or the site itself. The creators say the videos are posted so people can see the videos and decide for themselves what is true without censorship.