Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New York Magazine drops sex ads after group threatens protest

ADAM GOLDMAN Associated Press Writer

(AP) - NEW YORK-New York Magazine agreed Tuesday to stop accepting sex ads after the local chapter of a women's rights group threatened protests outside the popular weekly publication.

The National Organization for Women had accused New York of being a "marketing arm of the organized crime world of prostitution and human trafficking" because of classified ads at the back of the magazine with such tag lines as "Asians Gone Wild" and "Asian Dreamgirls."

Sonia Ossorio, president of the local NOW chapter, said she was "delighted" at the magazine's decision.

NOW-NYC had sent out a news release Tuesday morning announcing plans to stage a protest outside the magazine's offices Thursday over the sex ads.

The chapter has been asking other local media to stop taking the salacious ads and said it has won agreements to do so from 14 other publications including Time Out New York and New York Press.

Ossorio said she met with New York's publisher Tuesday and learned the magazine would stop running the ads, which span two pages in the latest issue.

Magazine spokeswoman Serena Torrey confirmed the decision but declined to say whether NOW's pressure tactics had influenced New York's decision. "It's just the right the thing to do," she said.

Torrey said the magazine had been looking to eliminate the ads for some time.

"The magazine is really prospering now and it's finally time to get out of a business that we were never comfortable being in," she said.

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, New York's circulation for the six months ending June 30 was approximately 429,000.

Ossorio says The Village Voice and ethnic newspapers such as the World Journal have resisted her group's efforts to put a stop to the sex ads.

In its latest issue, The Village Voice has nearly a dozen pages of lascivious ads covering everything from "Beautiful Latin Babes" to "Asian Party Girls."

Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of Equality Now, an international women's rights organization, said her group has joined NOW's campaign.

"What we believe and know is that a lot of these advertisements are covers for what can be dens for human trafficking," she said. "Turning a blind eye to that is a danger, and a reputable corporation should not be part of illegal enterprises."

NOW-NYC claims that New York makes $10,000 (€6,874) a week running the ads; New York declined to comment on its ad revenue.

New York magazine is part of New York Media Holdings LLC, which is owned by Lazard Ltd. chief executive Bruce Wasserstein.