Billboard Draws Controversy Over Portrayal Of Couple - Fox 2 News Headlines

Billboard Draws Controversy Over Portrayal Of Couple

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SPRINGFIELD, IL -

An anti-snoring billboard is causing controversy because of its portrayal of a polarizing couple.

The billboard has only been up for a few hours, but it is sparking conversation in River North.

"I guess there's so many things going on nowadays that you just look at it and nothing surprises you anymore," said one passerby.

"I don't think it's supposed to be anything really serious," said another passerby.

The billboard is for SnoreStop, a product by a California company selling a snore aid that aims help couples sleep better together.

"We definitely wanted to find a polarizing couple that would really, maybe not shock, but that would be something that you don't... normally see in mainstream advertising," said Melody Devemark, a spokeswoman for Green Pharmaceuticals, the company that made the product.

Ahmed Rehab, the Executive Director for the Council on American Islamic Relations, has heard the stir over the ad.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that it's a positive image and it's not a negative image of the Muslim woman. Usually, women who wear the niqab are subjected to negative portrayals in the media," Rehab said.

The billboard was recently rejected by a company in New York's Time Square because of its "sensitive nature.

"Some of the objection is that they're not really married and that really it's just models," explained Rehab.

The company's spokeswoman says the two are models, but Devemark says that Paul Evans, the male model in the picture, is a US army soldier.

"The inspiration for the couple actually came from Paul: one of his best friends who served with him in the army who had fallen in love with a Muslim woman. And we basically replicated that image of that couple," said Devemark.

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