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Queens Chronicle

Goldfeder again eyes limits on advertising

Offended by swastika over the beach

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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:30 am

State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) is urging the city Department of Consumer Affairs to more closely “monitor” advertisements that could be offensive to families and young children.

The ad that raised Goldfeder’s ire is one that recently was flown over the beach in Rockaway and featured two swastikas. It was not an advertisement related to Nazism, however, but one from the International Raelian Movement, a group that believes the human race was started on Earth by aliens from outer space.

The sect also contends that the swastika, a simple design that was used by ethnic groups from Asia to the Americas before the Nazis adopted it, should be reclaimed from latter-day admirers of Adolph Hitler.

The ad that beachgoers saw was a banner flown by a plane, which showed the Raelian symbol, a swastika inside a Star of David, along with a regular swastika, a peace symbol and a heart. The message it sought to convey is that the swastika and the peace symbol together equal love.

Goldfeder isn’t buying that.

“I have two young children at home and I do everything I can to protect them from vulgar and inappropriate material,” the assemblyman, who is an observant Jew, said in a prepared statement. “I strongly urge the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs to make every effort to monitor the content of advertisements and ensure companies and organizations do not choose a location in our neighborhoods that is inappropriate for their products and message.”

While he did not go further than to say the city should “monitor” potentially offensive ads, he did say he is “exploring” state legislation to regulate them.

He said that while the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech is fundamental, it is not without limits, such as those on “obscenity, defamation and fighting words.”

Goldfeder previously had pressed the city to tighten regulations on airborne ads featuring scantily clad women.

Welcome to the discussion.