Photo by Anton Sterkhov/Shutterstock

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals submitted two near-identical spots to Times Square’s Neutron Media, but only one of them will appear on the New York City landmark’s digital billboards. Directed by videographer Steve Willis and produced by the animal-rights group to promote its holiday-themed campaign against wool, each ad closes in on a set scratching fingers, satisfying a below-the-belt itch, as the words “Scratch wool from your shopping list.” The hashtag #WoolFreeWinter follows as a call to arms on social media.




But while Neutron Media gave the female version of the video the green light, it rejected the male one for being too “racy” because it included a hint of pubic hair, according to PETA.

The organization unveiled the approved billboard on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eight Avenues on Sunday, but Dan Matthews, PETA senior vice president, doesn’t get the fuss over its “unacceptable” counterpart.

“We’re living in the era of twerking, where people are simulating anal sex on TV,” Matthews says in a statement. “I don’t see how scratching is a big thing.” Instead, we should reserve our outrage for the widespread abuse occurring in sheep farms across North and South America, Asia, and Australia, the last of which supplies 90 percent of the world’s merino wool.

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“PETA routinely uses both men and women in sexy ads advocating for animal rights,” Mathews adds. “It was especially important in this campaign, as wool is marketed to both men and women who have no idea how violently sheep are mutilated in the shearing process.”

Still, PETA is grateful to receive any real estate from Neutron during the busiest shopping season of the year. “In previous times, advertisers didn’t want to give space to a group that encourages people not to shop,” Mathews says. “It’s nice to finally have advertisers allowing our message.”

+ People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

[Via New York Post]