Billboard vandalism

A billboard in downtown Winston-Salem was vandalized sometime before Monday. The billboard originally read “What to expect when you’re expecting a teenager.” Whoever defaced it painted “impeachment” over “a teenager.”

A billboard in downtown Winston-Salem promoting the adoption of teens that was vandalized to call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump has been taken down.

Someone painted the word “impeachment” across the bottom of the sign that originally read “What to expect when you’re expecting a teenager.”

As vandalized, the message read “What to expect when you’re expecting impeachment.”

To leave no mistake of the intended target, the vandal created orange “hair” for a man depicted on the billboard.

The billboard is owned by Lamar Advertising, based in Baton Rouge, La. Earlier this year, Lamar acquired all of the billboards in North Carolina formerly owned by Fairway Outdoor Advertising.

The vandalized billboard faces west and rises from near the parking lot of Piedmont Dialysis Center on Southwest Cotton Street right beside the Business 40 work zone.

Whoever painted over the billboard would have had to climb up a ladder that leads to a metal platform running along the base of the billboard.

Cindy Warren, the assistant general manager of Lamar for the Triad, said Thursday that the company’s policy is to remove any vandalism from its billboards.

“I can assure you that in the event of graffiti or vandalism, it is Lamar’s policy to get that vinyl switched out,” Warren said. “Obviously, we don’t want to advertise someone’s viewpoint that has not been vetted through our general policy.”

Warren declined to say who paid for the billboard, or to reveal anything else about the company’s contractual relationship with advertisers.

According to a blog entry on the website of the Ad Council, a nonprofit organization that has long engaged in public-service advertising, the adoption campaign was put together by the KBS advertising agency working with the group AdoptUSKids, the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

AdoptUSKids has the goal of getting children adopted from foster care.

The ad campaign takes off on the popular pregnancy book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” with artwork that evokes the style of the original book cover.

On the unaltered billboard, a man is handing car keys to a teenage girl, who holds her hands in a gesture of gratitude.

Warren said her company probably would not report such a case of vandalism because the odds of catching the perpetrator “are relatively slim.”

The vandal left what looked like a signature of sorts on the right side of the word “impeachment.”

Larry Johnson, who chairs the Forsyth County Democratic Party, said that while Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much, “vandalizing a billboard is not the solution to democratic action.”

“The Democratic Party encourages everyone to channel any political disagreement or anger into activism,” Johnson wrote in an email. “We encourage all citizens and voters to get involved and help us make change through our electoral process.”

Aaron Berlin, who chairs the Forsyth County Republican Party, said it is “always disappointing to see people vandalize property for any reason.”

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wyoung@wsjournal.com 336-727-7369 @wyoungWSJ

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