Eve Ragsdale said her triplets, from left, 6-year-old Jacob, Emma and Roman, are at an age when they ask questions about everything they see.
Eve Ragsdale did not want to have to explain to her 6-year-old triplets what the picture on the billboard near their home was.
Now, she won’t have to.
An image of an inflated condom with the question “Why Not?” was pasted across a billboard on Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys over the last few weeks to promote AIDS prevention.
Ragsdale, who said she couldn’t avoid driving her kids by the billboard between Victory Boulevard and Erwin Street in order to enter their neighborhood, complained to its sponsor, The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and the billboard’s owner, outdoor advertising company Van Wagner.
AHF did not respond to Ragsdale, nor to requests for comment for this article. However, on Tuesday Van Wagner Outdoor Vice Chairman Bill Crabtree told the Daily News that the billboard would be changed on Wednesday or Thursday.
“I told my operations manager to move it,” Crabtree said. “We listened to (Ragsdale), we don’t necessarily agree with her, but if it’s offensive to her, the last thing we want to do is offend anyone.
“We don’t put up (ads for) strip clubs, we don’t put up anything that is lewd,” Crabtree explained. “But the AIDS thing is educational, quite frankly. I know people might look at some of the designs askew, but they’re trying to get their point across.”
In an interview earlier in the week, Ragsdale said she did not feel that her children – who read now and ask constant questions about everything
they see – were developmentally ready to have the AIDS-condom relationship explained to them.
And if it just hadn’t had been such a phallic image . . .
“I am for what their message is trying to get across; I just don’t like the delivery of it,” said Ragsdale, who added that a picture of, say, a condom in its wrapper would be fine with her.
“It’s just an inappropriate image for all of the children in the neighborhood,” she added. “This is a quarter mile from Sylvan Park Elementary, so mine are not the only children walking on that street that have to see it.”
Crabtree said his company has received about six complaints regarding a variety of the AHF campaign’s billboards, but that Ragsdale’s was the only one free of any anti-AIDS victim bias.
Crabtree added that the condom image could be replaced with milder designs that are also part of AHF’s campaign, or with an entirely different organization’s ad. He said he might move the condom billboard to another location and did not indicate any plans to move others with the same imagery.
Informed that the big condom is leaving her neighborhood, the mother of three was delighted.
“I thank Bill Crabtree for taking it upon himself to handle this,” said Ragsdale, an office assistant at Chandler Elementary School and former LAUSD teacher. “I hope that the campaign can proceed, just maybe in a different way.”