Not mixing politics and religion. A billboard advertising the DVD release of the film God’s Not Dead 2 was banned from Cleveland in the week leading up to the Republican National Convention.
According to emails obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the last-minute decision was made because Orange Barrel Media, the company in charge of billboard space rentals, deemed the billboard’s message “too political and way too incendiary.”
The poster in question features Melissa Joan Hart and the words, “I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God,” as well as images of the film’s DVD packaging.
In the emails, Orange Barrel told Pure Flix, the movie’s distributor, that the Republican National Committee had barred “scandalous” signage, which they considered the movie advertisement to be. A rep for Pure Flix said in emails that the argument didn’t make any sense, especially since former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is in the film; the RNC wouldn’t likely have a problem with the billboard.
Orange Barrel also pointed to the city of Cleveland as a potential demographic that would be offended by the religious message. A spokesperson for the mayor of Cleveland told THR that the city didn’t have any objections.
“I’m perplexed. They dragged us along for weeks,” Pure Flix CEO Steve Fedyski told the site. “My speculation is that someone, somewhere didn’t want our message out. It’s hard to understand considering we’ve used the same marketing on CNN and other national networks.”
Orange Barrel CEO Pete Scantland told THR that there was “no bias” intended. At present, a pro-atheism billboard for the Freedom From Religion Foundation stands next to the “Welcome to Cleveland” sign by the airport.
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