Most alternative-weekly newspapers, including Westword, publish plenty of sexually explicit advertising. Indeed, one of my colleagues once joked that we should print up bumperstickers that read, "Sex Ads Feed My Family." But in 2001, Boulder Weekly publisher Stewart Sallo took a public stand against this practice. In a column entitled "Censoring Sexism: Boulder Weekly Scraps Sex Ads," he wrote, "The Weekly stands for more than money, as should be clear to anyone who reads it. Doing our part to create a world in which people love those with whom they make love is worth every penny we forsake."
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SHOW ME HOW
Sallo won praise for this decision in the Weekly's letters section and earned national attention, as indicated by this 2003 article in the American Journalism Review. That's why a Westword staffer was surprised to discover the advertisement published above in the March 19 edition of the Weekly -- and it wasn't alone.
Also appearing under the "Personal Services" heading in the paper's classified section was a spot for "LUCILA," who offers a "$50 Special: Experience R&R!," as well as an ad for "Dangerous Curves," a "Green-Eyed Beauty in Northern Colorado." There's no text about what specific services said Beauty supplies, but the ad does specify that while couples can't participate, ladies are welcome -- and a hot tub is included. In addition, there are a slew of ads for massages that feature photos of attractive Asian women wearing come-hither expressions.
Of course, it's possible that the businesses represented by these ads don't offer happy endings. But if that's the case, Sallo isn't saying -- or at least he isn't saying to yours truly. Three e-mail requests for interviews on this subject were sent to Sallo's personal address and a general Boulder Weekly mailbox over a week's span without generating a response from the publisher or anyone else at the paper. If a Weekly representative replies, look for a follow-up item. In the meantime, however, I've resisted the temptation to phone the California Blonde advertising New York-style indulgence and ask what I'd receive for my investment. Doubt if my wife wants me to know.