NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) is putting the breaks on a campaign aimed at curbing drinking and driving.
It's all because the messages that are part of the new “Booze It or Lose” effort were considered offensive to women.
Signs and coasters were given to bars with “edgy” messages.
One said, “"After a few drinks the girls look hotter and the music sounds better. Just remember if your judgment is impaired so is your driving."
“I’m kind of annoyed. I think it feeds in a little bit to rape culture and misogyny. And I don't know, I'm not about it,” one woman we stopped on Broadway said when getting feedback about the campaign.
The messages targeted young men who are considered high risk for DUI.
“I'm not going to stand idly by while women personally get attacked by taxpayer dollars,” said State Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville). “And for someone in the state of Tennessee to think that it was okay is unacceptable.”
Rep. Clemmons was one of a growing number in the community calling for the Governor to weigh in and the campaign to stop.
Through his spokesman David Smith, Governor Haslam released a statement saying:
The Governor’s Office had not seen the campaign. The governor doesn’t like it and is pleased that it has been suspended.
Tuesday afternoon GOHS Director Kendal Poole issued a statement apologizing saying his office never intended to be insensitive or insulting to women. All of the materials will be removed from bars across the state.
“There are better ways to reach out to young males or whatever their target audience is,” Rep. Clemmons stressed, “than to offend a majority of our population.”View the complete statement from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office below:
The Governor’s Highway Safety Office would like to apologize for any offense caused by the 100 Days of Summer Heat Booze It and Lose It Campaign. Because one of the goals of many Booze It and Lose It campaigns is to reach our high risk driving population, the marketing is often edgy and designed to grab the attention of the young male demographic. It was never the intent of the GHSO to be insensitive or insulting to women.
The GHSO receives federal funding to change driver behavior through education and enforcement. No state dollars are used for the marketing of campaigns such as Booze It and Lose It or Click It or Ticket.
The table tents, posters, and coasters in question will no longer be distributed and are being removed from bars across the state. The cost for the production and distribution of these materials was $77,096. The cost for the removal of these materials will be paid for by The Tombras Group, the Knoxville media/marketing firm that is under contract with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. The Tombras Group has also removed the micro-website that was designed to be a companion to the bar materials.The goal of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office continues to be reducing crashes and saving lives in the state of Tennessee. Impaired driving continues to be the preeminent danger facing motorists across the nation.