The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2005
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It Shows Priest Fondling Truck, Eyeing Girl, & Posting Lust
New Spot Trivializes Child Molestation Crisis, They Say
SNAP Says Female Victims Are Most Offended
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging Ford/Lincoln to not air a planned Super Bowl TV ad that they say trivializes and exploits the Catholic church sex scandal and offends females who have been molested.
Leaders of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are urging the company to withdraw the spot, which features a priest in a Roman collar longingly rubbing his hands over a new truck, looking at a shy young girl, and posting the word LUST on the church marquee.
(To see the ad: http://www.superbowl-ads.com/2005/videos-2005/lincolnLT.html)
"It trivializes childhood sex crimes by trusted clergy and exploits a horrific trauma," said Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP founder and president. "We are appalled at how insensitive this ad is. It just rubs salt into an already very deep and still hurting wound for many of us."
Joining their concern are officials from a New York-based grassroots activist organization, a former prosecutor, and therapist.
Are there no limits to what advertisers will do for commercial gain? asks Irene Weiser, founder and executive director of StopFamilyViolence.org To capitalize on the lifelong suffering of sexual abuse victims and the scandalous cover-up by church officials in order to sell a truck? This advertisement goes beyond insensitive it is sickening.
Because much attention has focused on assaults against boys, girls and women who have been sexually attacked and exploited by clergy already feel very marginalized and ignored, said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAPs Outreach Coordinator. This ad will only deepen their pain.
Provocative themes in Super Bowl ads are not new but this ad is designed to sell trucks by mocking and exploiting the sexual abuse of children, said Wendy Murphy, former sex crimes prosecutor and professor at the New England School of Law in Boston. This isn't just about pushing the envelope on bad taste, it is about a company making profits on the backs of the thousands of children who've been raped and sodomized by trusted priests. The public has an obligation to protest this outrageous ad by refusing to purchase Lincoln products and by letting Lincoln know in any way they can that this ad will not be rewarded.
"People who are recovering from the effects of abuse often feel that the world around them triviliazes their suffering, and that the perpetrators are glamorized, while they are ignored and blamed," said Dr. Joyanna Silberg, a psychologist who specializes in therapy with abuse victims. This commercial seems to glamorize the priest and his inappropriate sexuality using that to enhance the glamor of the car. It thereby could be seen as insulting to both victims of priest sexual abuse, and priests with integrity."
Silberg is also the executive vice-president of the Leadership Council on child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence.
SNAP is the nations largest and oldest support group for clergy molestation victims, with more than 5,000 members. It is based in Chicago.
For more information about the ad, please go to SNAPnetwork.org or StopFamilyViolence.org
SNAP plans to write Ford/Lincoln today voicing their outrage.
Priest Learns Lesson in Lust in Lincoln Ad
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests