Women Against Violence vs. The Rolling Stones
A group that called for a boycott of Warner Communications albums on April 21, 1976 because of the cover and promotional campaign for the BLACK AND BLUE record. Three years later, the boycott ended when it was agreed that the group could meet with the art and marketing departments of Warner Bros. Records regarding future album and advertising art.
The Stones didn’t end up touring the U.S. in the immediate wake of the April 1976 release of the Black and Blue album. Still the band still managed to cause a firestorm of controversy in the States, thanks to the album’s ad campaign and a Sunset Boulevard billboard promoting the record. The ad—which can be found in the July 1, 1976, issue of Rolling Stone magazine—featured model Anita Russell sitting atop an unfolded copy of the Black and Blue LP. She’s bound with rope and wearing dark makeup, to make it look like she was bruised by a beating. The giant billboard was even more controversial, as it contained the same image of Russell and the LP, but added the text, “I’m ‘Black and Blue’ from the Rolling Stones – and I love it!” in giant script. Reaction to both the ad and billboard was fierce.
In the August 1976 issue of a newsletter published by the Houston-based feminist group Breakthrough, Julie London, the Los Angeles coordinator of a then-new organization of feminist-identifying individuals and groups called Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW), wrote, “This campaign exploits and sensationalizes violence against a woman for the purpose of increased record sales. The ad contributes to the myth that women like to be beaten and condones a permissive attitude towards the brutalization of women.”
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