INDUSTRY SLAMS PETA AD

Editor’s Note: On Sept. 5, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) took a paid ad in WWD asking that designers, in memory of Princess Diana, not use fur. Although this newspaper does not support PETA, it is our policy, as it is at virtually all newspapers, not to censor advertisements from any group unless they are obscene or libelous.
The response to the PETA ad, all of it negative, was so intense that we decided to publish this special letters page.

I am amazed and disgusted that you had the bad taste to print PETA’s ad on Sept. 5. Have you no judgment? What possible connection do you see between Princess Diana, now sadly deceased, and PETA’s agenda, except to give them a little cheap publicity?
WWD has tarnished its own reputation.
J.E. Posner
President
Australasian Trading Corp.
New York

How could you allow that distasteful PETA ad to run in your publication? Princess Di was not a PETA supporter. She was a lot smarter than that. I think it’s time for you to smarten up and realize that PETA is passe. Di cared about people, not extremists with a radical agenda. I suggest you take the time to find out what PETA is all about before you sell them ad space. You may find that you will offend and lose your most important supporters: Your customers.
John Tunis
Bricker-Tunis Furs
West Bloomfield, Mich.

In the Sept. 5 issue of WWD you printed an ad by PETA regarding the late Princess Diana.
PETA decided to exploit her death in a totally tasteless and inhumane way. They are trying to salvage their fading organization at any cost.
But you put yourselves on the same level with the paparazzi who were somehow involved in her death.
The publishing industry can sometimes lack moral judgment. For many, the paparazzi became accomplices to the death of Princess Diana, and WWD sold its integrity and respectability for advertising dollars.
Evangelos Anatasiou
President
Gean & Sean Furs
New York

Regarding the PETA ad in today’s issue: Shouldn’t truth in advertising be considered before a publication runs an ad?
Like Princess Diana, the fur industry has long been out there fund-raising to find a cure for AIDS. Animal research will get us there.
By accepting this ad, you’ve exhibited a complete lack of class.
With love for Diana and her children.
Robert E. Benjamin
President
Flemington Fur Co.
Flemington, N.J.

I cannot believe that your fine publication would stoop to take an ad from PETA that ran on Sept. 5, 1997, a day when the entire world mourned the passing of Princess Diana.
I defy you to show any documentation that shows that the Princess was a member or even a follower of what PETA stands for.
I never thought that WWD was in the tabloid category.
Samuel B. Garber,
Evans Inc.
Chicago

As a subscriber, I look forward to each issue for its insight and information regarding the apparel industry. But I am shocked and dismayed to discover that you are letting WWD be used by dishonest, self-serving groups to promote their own interests through deceit and outright lies.
I am referring to the ad in the Sept. 5 WWD from PETA. That you would let a tragedy like the death of Princess Diana be used in an ad promoting PETA’s agenda is disgusting. Are you even aware of their goals and beliefs? They are not only against fur, but also leather, silk, feathers and any other item of apparel that is derived from animals. If they have their way, a paper like WWD will no longer be necessary because we all will be wearing petroleum-based polyester sacks.
We all believe in freedom of speech, but letting PETA run this ad, which, besides being in extremely poor taste, is an outright lie. If they really wanted to honor the memory of Princess Diana, they should change the name of their organization to The People for the Ethical Treatment of People. Princess Diana was a true humanitarian who was concerned with the real problems of real people.
I hope this letter doesn’t fall on deaf ears, because you made a mistake in allowing WWD to be used by a self-serving organization like PETA.
Michael Feder,
Michael Feder & Associates
Chicago

I am shocked and disgusted that you would put an ad of such low caliber in your publication. I think you have used extremely poor judgment. It is a sad day indeed.
George L. Eisenbach
Newark, Ohio

I am totally appalled and shocked that you would print such a tasteless ad from PETA.
Princess Diana was a true humanitarian, dedicated to causes that helped people. She in no way supported the misleading beliefs of this organization — which, by the way, is against any animal use — against medical research to find cures for the diseases afflicting the people Princess Diana visited; against the wearing of wool, silk and leather clothes; against animals for food.
I doubt you were aware of their true agenda. If so, you showed extremely poor judgment and a lack of respect by running this ad and joining PETA in their exploitation of Princess Diana’s death.
Susan Kluger
Kluger Furs
Flossmoor, Ill.

It appears that PETA has once again overstepped the bounds of responsible advertising by placing yet another tasteless and inhumane ad. The ad illustrates the depths to which PETA will sink to gain attention.
The entire fur industry is outraged, as anyone reading the ad would be, at the disrespect PETA has shown not only to Princess Diana, but also to a still-grieving public. Princess Diana was not an animal rights supporter. Rather, she chose to show her true humanitarian spirit by devoting her life to infinitely more important causes — The Red Cross, care of AIDS patients, children’s charities, the abolishment of land mines — those causes which help people.
Perhaps equally shocking is the fact that WWD chose to run the ad at all. It is the position of the Fur Information Council of America that although editorial coverage of the fur industry has been positive for the most part, WWD showed extremely poor judgment and lack of respect by running such a crude ad. Once again, you have sent a mixed message to our members — your advertisers, as well as to your readers.
Allen Soifer
Chairman
Fur Information Council of America
Herndon, Va.

At a time of deep national mourning, we in Britain are sickened that the name of Diana, Princess of Wales, is being associated with animal rights activists.
We are dismayed that such a well-respected paper as Women’s Wear Daily could publish an advertisement with no basis in fact (“An appeal regarding Princess Diana,” Sept. 5). Such a cheap publicity stunt by PETA is an example of the very low depths that it will sink to achieve its spurious goals.
Frank Zilberkweit
Chairman British Fur Trade Association
London

The advertisement that WWD ran on Friday, Sept. 5, from PETA was offensive and improper. The attempt to bond Princess Diana to any animal activist organization is not only fallacious, but also demeaning to a very natural lady.
Princess Diana was an exceptional woman whose effortless stamina working with human suffering is a reminder to all of us what is meaningful in life. Princess Diana’s time was granted to the Leprosy Mission, comforting AIDS patients through The National AIDS Trust, The British Red Cross, collaborating with Centrepoint providing food, shelter and a warm heart for the homeless and countless other charities to benefit human distress. Princess Diana was an affectionate and supportive mother to two boys. She was not an animal activist.
It is the right of any publication to reject any advertisement that may be deemed distasteful, offensive or contrary to any position that the particular publication holds. A fashion newspaper is not a political courtyard. WWD is a fashion newspaper that generally does a very good job in stating fashion news.
Obviously WWD made an enormous mistake in accepting and printing this ad.
Lawrence S. Schulman
Alixandre Furs
New York

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