Men cover up weapons on ad for Sky’s Bulletproof over concerns about violent crime
Two men have papered over a billboard in east London due to concerns that it glamorises violence at a time of rising crime in the capital, earning praise from the local MP and attracting criticism from the actors portrayed on the hoarding.
The poster for Sky’s police comedy Bulletproof features two gun-toting actors, one of whom is pointing his weapon as though he were about to enter combat.
Richard Selby, an IT consultant, decided to act after he saw the billboard over a busy Walthamstow street when leaving a leisure centre with his eight-year-old son.
“It felt wrong to me,” he told the Guardian. “Especially in the light of the shootings and stabbings that we’ve endured all over London, but particularly in this area, so I thought I’d cover up the guns with something else.”
Selby enlisted the help of his friend Graham Clifford, a local headteacher, and plastered a cardboard carrot and hairdryer over the two handguns.
The poster provider, Primesight, subsequently covered it up with a blank canvas, prompting the two men to replaster the carrot and hairdryer.
When asked whether he had any plans to cover other billboards, Selby said: “I don’t want this to be the start of a vigilante career where I spend my life dedicated to plastering on billboards. I have a life to resume. I think I’ve made the point.”
However, he intends to write #GunFreeAds across the canvas at the weekend in an attempt to crystallise the debate that has arisen.
“I would say if we’re going down that line, shouldn’t we perhaps think about some guidelines for appropriate advertising when it comes to violence and weapons also near schools?
“I’m totally against the idea that carrying a handgun is normal for anyone in our society, and this contributes to a culture where guns are considered cool and acceptable.”
Stella Creasy, the Walthamstow MP, commended the act on Twitter.
Wasn’t a priest but a local dad who felt that promoting guns in a community with a gun crime problem not the way to tackle it so applied some creative thinking to alternatives…#onlyinE17 #walthamstow https://t.co/Otm3SFhJgt