A television commercial many found offensive that was part of an advertising campaign by DIRECTV has ended its on-air run and an apology has been issued.
The television ad, which depicted mountain people in a way many considered derogatory, ignited some tempers recently in Harlan and other rural Appalachian areas.
The commercial was discussed in a meeting of the Harlan Tourist and Convention Commission on Tuesday.
Harlan Tourist and Convention Commission member Roger Fannin said he had seen the add.
“I couldn’t really believe I was seeing this,” said Fannin during the commission’s regular meeting Tuesday. “I thought this country — especially our media — had moved beyond this and was out of the dark ages.”
The commission considered taking action including recruiting other tourism organizations and chambers of commerce around the region to participate in attempting to have the commercial removed from the air. Online petitions and encouraging telephone calls to DIRECTV CEO Michael White were considered as courses of action.
DIRECTV Senior Public Relations Manager Jade-lin Ekstedt responded via email Wednesday to calls concerning the commercial.
“It certainly was not our intent to offend anyone and we apologize if there were customers that did not like the ad or found it offensive,” stated Ekstadt. “The commercial ended its broadcast run on Monday and will no longer be airing.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, jasher@civitas media.com