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LOS ANGELES - Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Inc. has said it will stop airing a national television commercial called "Captive Audience" that human rights groups say makes light of rape in prison.
The commercial, created by Young & Rubicam, aired during youth-oriented programming on MTV, UPN, FOX, and the WB. In the ad, a 7UP spokesperson hands out cans of 7UP to prisoners. When he accidentally drops a can, he quips that he won't pick it up, implying that he would risk being raped if he were to bend down. Later in the ad, a cell door slams, trapping the spokesperson on a bed with another man who refuses to take his arm from around him.
Lara Stemple, executive director of Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR), a nonprofit human rights organization, said Philippa Dworkin, vice president of corporate communications for Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Inc., told her the ad would be taken off the air in response to the protest.
"This commercial was perpetuating the kind of callousness that allows sexual abuse to continue in so many prisons virtually unchecked," said Stemple. "We're very glad to hear that 7UP has decided to stop sending out the message that it's okay to laugh about rape when it involves people in prison. No corporation would make jokes about rape outside of the prison context."
"We really have listened to them. Their points are very valid and we are with them on human rights," Dworkin told a CNSNEWS.com reporter this week, before the company made the final decision to stop airing the commercial.
"Nearly 100 organizations spoke out to say that prisoner rape is a horrific human rights abuse that must be taken seriously," said Stemple, "and we're happy 7UP has listened."