Nice People Theatre's new play, Love Jerry, is a musical about a pedophile and the damage he inflicts on his relationship with his brother.
Producers Nicole Blicher and Miriam White wanted to buy a video ad on Philly.com, which rejected it.
Philly.com president Ryan Davis said the spot — whose opening frame shows actor Scott Boulware in front of a plain background — was turned down because the subject of the ad was not clear from the outset. Once the ad rolls, the words, "This is Jerry. Jerry is a pedophile," appear on the screen. Davis said the word carries "significant shock value."
"All we did was apply the same sensibility and standards we apply to all content," Davis said.
Blicher and White took their outrage to social media, castigating Philly.com for not accepting the ad. They're offering a $2 discount to anyone who shows up at the box office and says, "I forwarded your ad."
Davis said the producers were offered solutions, including the placement of a banner across the ad or an intro that would have clearly indicated it was a show. "Nonetheless, by the time we got to that agreement, they're getting enough free publicity that they aren't interested," Davis said. "I can't blame them."
Nice People had planned to pay $800 to Philly.com for the ad (it was its only media buy). Now, Blicher said, if 50 people mention the social-media campaign at the box office, the group will donate the $800 to the Child Abuse Prevention Effort.
The play, by Megan Gogerty, opens at the Latvian Society (531 N. Seventh St.) on Friday, June 4. It runs to June 20. Gogerty will lead a discussion Friday.