Posted on July 8, 2004

Celebrate America Ads Changed After Complaint

Tallahassee Democrat,, Jul. 2

A letter to the editor in the Tallahassee Democrat this week had quick consequences in the run-up to tomorrow’s Celebrate America festival, leading organizers to change TV ads for the fest just days before.

The letter writer, Lorian Miles, said in a June 29 letter she was offended by the ads, which show a Confederate battle flag in scenes from a music video by country artist Mark Wills. “While some view the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride, the vast majority of people view it as a symbol of the South’s racist past,” she wrote.

In the video, Wills climbs out of the car driven by the Dukes of Hazard, which has the flag painted on its roof. Eager to avoid the perennial controversy that surrounds the Southern Cross, organizers blurred it from view in commercials that aired after Wednesday.

“We thought it was the easiest way to solve the situation and move forward,” said Celebrate America executive director Billy Holder, who said the letter was the only complaint he’d heard. “I think everybody will be happy with the event overall,” he said.

Tallahassee city officials said the ad was changed to ensure everyone would feel welcome at the festival.