State Politics

Billboard planned to counter ‘Real men provide’ sign

A billboard between Winston-Salem and Greensboro has sparked controversy and now money is being raised for another billboard to counter it.

The “Real men provide. Real women appreciate it.” billboard on Interstate 40 Business West drew criticism for a message some called sexist, misogynistic and anti gender equality.

A GoFundMe campaign “Help Us Send a Counter Message” was set up this week to raise money to pay for a new billboard that says “Gender equality benefits everyone.” As of Tuesday evening, it had raised $3,153 toward a $10,000 goal. The campaign wants to put the new billboard in the Triangle area, since another campaign has been set up to place one in the Greensboro area.

“We want to counter this message of inequality with one of inclusivity,” wrote Paula Atwood of Raleigh, the GoFundMe creator. “We were saddened and outraged by this one-sided statement of patriarchy. This is not the voice of our community and does not represent North Carolina as a whole.

The cost of the counter billboard ranges between $1,000 and $5,000 per month depending on its location. If the campaign doesn’t raise enough money to pay for the sign, or if there is money left over, it will be donated to N.C. Women United.

The “Real men” billboard belongs to Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising, a company operated by Bill Whiteheart. He is a former Republican member of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners and was known for being socially and fiscally conservative, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

The billboard was purchased for about $2,000 by a company that wishes to remain nameless, Whiteheart said. It went up Friday and will remain for about 30 days.

Whiteheart said his company’s job is to convey a message, not to take sides on it.

“We don’t endorse the message that’s there,” he said. “We’re just the messenger.”

For more information on the campaign, go to www.gofundme.com/help-send-message.

Staff writer Chris Cioffi contributed to this report.

Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett

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