Removal of controversial billboard ad incites, more upset
CHICO, Calif. - "It means a lot to me that she did this, knowing that her business could go under," Lindsay Wilken-Moore said of her friend, Nicholle Haber Lewis, the owner of Rouse and Revolt, a buy, sell, trade clothing store in downtown Chico owned and operated by Lewis.
Wilken-Moore is a former employee and Friday afternoon she assisted Lewis at the shop following a whirlwind of events that happened Thursday.
After Lewis put up a billboard ad for Rouse and Revolt depicting Trump as a Nazi-like leader, many in Chico were offended and demanded it be taken down.
Lewis and the store received threats.
"I've had people personally message me telling me that I'm the scum of the earth, that I'm an ugly fat lesbian, that...I'm tattooed and hideous."
The Chico Police Department confirmed that someone threatened to burn the store down.
Despite the backlash, Wilken-Moore said the store appeared busier than a usual Friday.
Less than 24 hours after it was displayed, the ad was taken down by Stott Outdoor Advertising in Chico. Lewis said she rented the billboard space for the month from Stott and was unaware they were going to take her ad down.
Now, she's considering taking legal action for what she calls a "breach of contract."
"He won't even talk to me," Lewis said of Stott's General Manager Jim Moravec. "I called and I apologized to him and I told him, 'I'm sorry. You probably received a lot of backlash. Let's have a compromise.'"
She went on to say that Moravec had already rented out the space to a different organization. The ad that replaced Rouse and Revolt's ad occupied the billboard Friday afternoon.
While biking by the billboard, local Jordy Howell stopped to comment on the change. He said he believes it was Rouse and Revolt's right to depict President Trump however they wished.
When asked if the imagery was fair to President Trump, he said, "I think it is fair. That's what the First Amendment is all about ... being able to voice your opinion, especially when you're paying money for a month of advertisement."
When asked for a comment, Moravec provided this written statement:
"At this time, I'm choosing not to comment further on this issue beyond the statement which I provided yesterday. Necessity requires that I refocus my efforts on the successful operation of the company so that Stott Outdoor can continue to provide excellent service to all of our advertisers, as well as continuing to provide for the 30 plus employees and their families which rely on the company for their livelihood."
Lewis said she is working with her attorneys and is considering filing a lawsuit against Stott Outdoor Advertising.