When she called on Congress to pass an extension of the Violence Against Women Act last Thursday, Ann Jawin of the Center for the Women of New York singled out “one English language newspaper” for running ads that promote adult services.
“Those ads say ‘Lovely Latinas’ and ‘Hot Asian Girls,’” Jawin said. “But they promote prostitution. And when you have more customers, you need to get more girls.”
Speaking just prior to Jawin on the steps of Borough Hall was Assemblywoman and Democratic Congressional candidate Grace Meng (D-Flushing), who was honored by the center two days later along with Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), one of Meng’s opponents in the June 26 Democratic primary for the 6th Congressional District.
Meng on Thursday criticized Congressional Republicans for playing politics as she too called for passage of the VAWA extension, which provides funding for services to women who are victims of crimes ranging from domestic abuse to sex trafficking.
But Meng’s campaign also has hired political consulting and printing firm Multi-Media, which has some of the same management as the Queens Tribune, the paper that runs the advertisements Jawin attacked as promoting adult services.
The April 26 edition of the Tribune featured 37 such ads, including 23 promoting the use of Asian women.
Meng said she was aware of the ads when her campaign hired Multi-Media, which is run by Michael Nussbaum, who also serves as executive vice president and associate publisher of the Tribune, and operates out of the Tribune’s offices.
“Multi-Media has not been paid by my campaign for consulting,” Meng said. “They do our printing. I’ve spoken to Michael about the ads, and I will be glad to talk to him again.”
Meng also pointed out that her first position in public service was as a volunteer for an organization that provides services to women suffering from domestic abuse, particularly those who do not speak English.
The Borough Hall press conference, which included a number of other women’s advocates, came one day after the City Council held hearings on such ads on Backpage.com, an online classified ad site affiliated with Village Voice Media. The Tribune was not included in the hearings.
Congress passed the VAWA extension.
Jawin said she did not know if Meng knew about the ads before hiring Multi-Media.
“I honored both Grace and Elizabeth Crowley before they were even running,” Jawin said. “They have excellent track records as advocates for women’s issues. So does Rory Lancman ... I don’t know the other candidates.”
Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), a fellow Assembly member who is considered the most serious threat to Meng’s nomination in the June 26 primary, held a press conference of his own on Monday, during which he also decried GOP attempts to water down the new VAWA bill. He could not be reached for comment on Meng’s association with Multi-Media.
Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx), chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, said that he was unaware of the controversy.
“I think the printer is not as important as the content of the printing,” Crowley said.