As I mentioned yesterday, I spoke with CMYK Magazine's publisher, Curtis Clarkson, after finding out that an anti-gay ad for Nike shoes was not commissioned by Nike. Rather it was the design of an art student. Clarkson has issued an apology to GLAAD's constituents and the LGBT community as a whole. Below is the text of his letter unedited. We will continue to work with CMYK Magazine and others to ensure there are fair, accurate and inclusive images of LGBT people.
1/13/09 It has been brought to my attention through a couple of blogs and organizations that a fictitious print advertisement for Nike, Inc., published on page 10 of the most recent issue of CMYK Magazine, has offended some people - namely in the gay and lesbian communities. Please know that this ad created by an art student is in no way affiliated with Nike, nor does it express the views and opinions of Nike, Inc.
To offer some background, CMYK Magazine publishes juried work from art students studying advertising (copywriting and art direction), design, illustration and photography. The work published in CMYK Magazine is chosen from thousands of submissions and final selections are determined by notable art-design professionals.
The class assignment in question reads as follows: "The Only Thing Worse Than Going to the Ballet Is Going to the Ballet to Watch Your Son." The tagline reads: "Raise a Champion."
The context in which I, personally, read the ad was as a rather risqué parody on the old-fashioned notion that macho guys don't wants their sons to join the ballet in favor of playing linebacker for the local high school football team.
As with all "art," there are multiple interpretations. What determines a piece of art's meaning hinges on the context in which each individual brings to the piece.
While I cannot speak for the student who created the ad, or the judge who selected it, I would like to sincerely apologize to anyone -- and every organization as a whole - who takes personal offense by the publishing of this class assignment.
I assure you it was not my intent - or the intent of anyone affiliated with CMYK Magazine - to defame or cause harm to any person or social organization as a result of publishing this piece. Please know that your feedback and commentary to this ad has been heard loud and clear, and I welcome more of your opinions.
I hope you accept my apology and, most importantly, thank you for your time and consideration. Very Sincerely, Curtis Clarkson President CMYK Magazine, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org