A woman’s underwear ad has been rejected by BART because of its alleged profanity, which makes fun of comments made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about grabbing a woman’s vagina.
A recording recently emerged of Trump telling a television host Billy Bush in a 2005 conversation that he felt free to do what he wanted to woman because of his fame, including grabbing “them by the pussy.” The statement has since angered many, even inspiring a reaction hashtag: #pussygrabsback.
With less than a week to Election Day, that reaction, and the confrontational use of the word, has spread into advertising on Bay Area BART platforms.
The company that placed the ads, THINX, says a specific ad they proposed for a San Francisco BART station was denied simply because of its use of the word “pussy.”
“It’s okay for a candidate for POTUS to use this language and for it to be reproduced and repeated uncensored, but a female-run company can’t use the same word? It doesn’t make sense,” THINX CEO Miki Agrawal said in a statement.
The ad shows a picture of a woman in a yoga pose, wearing underwear, and reads, “Pussy-Grabbing Proof Underwear.”
“In this particular scenario, ‘Pussy-Grabbing’ is a colloquialism for sexual assault, which we stand firmly against as an organization,” BART spokesperson Alicia Trost wrote in an email to the San Francisco Examiner of why the agency denied the ad.
“After careful consideration and review, the district has rejected a portion of an advertising campaign from [THINX] on the basis their advertisement [because of] words recognized by the community as vulgar, indecent or profane for display in a public setting that includes minors,” Trost wrote.
The company had argued in an email exchange that “pussy” is a word often used in many instances that are not profane.
Brand Director Veronica Del Rosario told a BART spokesperson that the word is widely used in movies and TV shows such as “Josie and the Pussycats.” It has also appeared in band names like The Pussycat Dolls, and in children’s books like “The Owl and the Pussycat.”
“It has also been uncensored, printed, and spoken aloud in every major news outlet and network over the past few weeks,” wrote Del Rosario.
Still, Trost said BART simply sees the one ad that was rejected as profane and out of place.
“Crude descriptions of sexual anatomy, regardless of sex, are vulgar,” wrote Trost. “This is not the kind of atmosphere we feel is appropriate to generate inside BART stations. While we understand the spirit behind ‘reclaiming’ vulgar words, our advertising standards make it clear that BART is not the suitable setting to begin such a campaign. We did accept dozens of their ads as part of this campaign. This is the only one that did not comply.”