Fusion’s “As American As” Campaign Gets Censored


By christinewatson / / We may feel like our progressive town is immune from censors, but it’s not. When news media company Fusion and their creative agency SS+K launched the “As American As” campaign, they expected images like gay men kissing, a drag queen standing on her stoop and an African American baby wearing a “black lives matter” t-shirt to spark a public conversation about diversity and inclusion in America. What they didn’t expect were for those images to be rejected outright in some of the most cosmopolitan places in America—even in the Lower East Side. In response to the censorship, Fusion and SS+K created a new billboard in Manhattan—this time with the censored images crossed out. “X marks the spot of censorship,” the billboard says. “See the images America wasn’t ready for.” Well played. New York City, NY: Essex Street While media partners approved the imagery, the placement in the Lower East Side was taken down due to complaints by the building owner on which the images were featured. Stamford, CT Bus Shelters and Billboards A major Connecticut media company rejected all of the imagery of gay men kissing and a woman holding her covered breasts. After various phone calls, they ended up rejecting all LGBT imagery and, while they agreed to approve some of the photographs, they required that Fusion or SS+K sign a waiver to cover any financial costs related to vandalism of the allotted bus shelters and billboards. Philadelphia, PA: 15th street station domination Philadelphia’s Transit Authority, SEPTA, initially rejected the imagery but after multiple rounds of editing, they finally agreed to a set of ads for the Union Station domination out-of-home placement. However, they changed their minds at the last minute and rejected an image of a drag queen standing on a stoop simply drinking a cup of coffee. They also rejected the two gay men because of the appearance of men’s’ nipples—even though they approved the image of a topless male Asian rapper. Fusion Media Group Chief Executive Officer: Isaac Lee Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer: Boris Gartner Vice President, Executive Creative Director: Stephen Leps SS+K Partner, Chief Creative Officer: Bobby Hershfield Creative Director: Armando Flores Art Director: Malika Reid Copywriter: Margaret Webber Design Director: Jesse Raker Lead Designer: Chris Peck Director of Production and Innovation: John Swartz Executive Producer, Photography: Jamie Appelbaum Executive Producer, Video: Liz Mistriel Partner/Founder, Account Lead: Rob Shepardson Account Supervisor: Gisell Galan Account Coordinator: Jason Fishkin Strategy: Claudia Cukrov Production Company: Freebird Production Director/Photographer: Gillian Laub,Verbatim Director of Photography: Rick Gershon,Verbatim Photography Assistant: Yoav Friedlander Producer: Tali Magal Assistant Producer: Jessie Jobst Casting: JV8, Inc. and Planet Pre Pro Video Edit/Post Production Company: The Mill NY Editor: Ryan McKenna Producer: Katya Pavlova Colorist: Damien Van Der Cryussen Event Production: Chris Wayne & Associates Owner: Chris Wayne VP, Chief of Staff: Tim Biba Account Manager: Marc Gross Technical Director: Danny Huebsch