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Billboard Touting Adultery Draws Protestors

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Southern California is known for free-wheeling lifestyles, but some folks say a new billboard goes too far.

Protestors call it an advertisement for extramarital affairs, pointing people to a Web site where they can find lovers. In West Hollywood, the billboard is drawing plenty of attention.

At La Brea and La Cienega Boulevard in Hollywood, a small group is protesting a billboard. It is for AshleyMadison.com. That's an Internet dating agency, a Canadian-based company that has branched into the U.S. The pitch on their Web site says: "When monogamy becomes monotony."

But these folks hope you never get to the Web site. They want this billboard taken down. They say it promotes marital infidelity.

The message is clear and the founders of AshleyMadison.com make no apologies.

"We feel in our hearts, minds and pocketbooks that people who are going to stray are going to do it anyway, no matter what, with or without us," said Darren Morgenstern, founder of AshleyMadison.com.

The Web site promises to connect people who are in a relationship with other people who are in a relationship.

"They are leading lives of quiet misery, quiet desperation, and they are looking for something outside the relationship. They want to connect with somebody who is like-minded, who is also looking to potentially stray on their spouse," said Morgenstern.

But many say the Ashley Madison dating service is immoral and encourages married people to commit adultery.

"You don't get no other message out of it besides, 'Have an affair.' The only way you can have an affair is if you are married. It's not saying 'married people,' or 'married this and that.' It says, 'Have an affair,'" said Larry Rich, who opposes the billboard.

"For someone to create a venue to just make it so easy for someone to just log online and be so cavalier about it, is just very destructive to me," said Tamara Feldstein.

"You can't possibly convince somebody to act outside their moral code if that's just not what they are looking for," said Morgenstern.

The group of residents opposed to the billboard claims to have some success with their protest and their complaints over AshleyMadison.com. There was another billboard a short time ago up at La Cienega and San Vicente. They claim that their protest and comments had that billboard removed. They're hoping what they are doing today will have the same result and have this billboard taken down.

The company, Ashley Madison Agency, claims that it has had an upward spiral of business with no show of slowing down any time soon. They claim to have 1.4 million registered users on their Web site.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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