Racy billboards stir controversy around Indianapolis business - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Racy billboards stir controversy around Indianapolis business

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INDIANAPOLIS -

How far is too far when trying to promote your business? One local company stripped their ads down to the bare skin for a big splash.

The ads for Dream Street Graphics, featuring a naked woman, have some calling for a cover-up.

Dwayne Stearman and his wife see the images every day from the construction company they own next door.

"He asked me personally, he said, 'Do you believe this is pornography?' and I said, 'Yeah, I do'," Stearman said.

Not only does the couple work here, they home school their five children - ages 7-15 - at the business.

"I don't think you should present that, for our kids' sake," Stearman said.

"He said it adds to his bottom line and he wasn't upset at all about minors being able to view this on his trucks," said Dawn Der.

Der waged a fight against the "Never Drive Naked" images a couple years ago. That image featured a woman in her underwear. A few weeks ago, Dream Street Graphics owner John Wiley dropped the clothes altogether, now featuring a woman in the nude.

"Drove down the interstate. I have family in Greenwood and I saw the sign he had plastered all over everywhere and I was really surprised he was allowed to do that," Der said.

Eyewitness News checked with the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement to see whether Wiley is allowed to post the signs. Under the city's obscenity ordinance, the image must meet several requirements to be considered obscene, including depicting a sexual act or show a full private part.

But regardless of what the code says, Wiley says changes are underway.

"We are listening to the community feedback and we've already implemented changes in the design and we're just in the middle of working that out right now," he said.

One of the changes made right away to their box truck included hastily cutting out a cover-up to place over the area people found most objectionable, with plans to fine tune the design in the coming days.

"Do you want your little boys looking at women in their underwear or your spouse? Do we want our daughters thinking that's what they need to dress like to get the attention?"

While the "Never Drive Naked" ad campaign by this business has been around for years, this image of the naked woman has only been up for a few weeks. Previous images of women had some form of underwear. This one does not. Complaints were made about the previous image. The new image has drawn renewed criticism and requests to our newsroom. We simply asked questions of the city and got answers. 

The Department of Code Enforcement discovered Dream Street Graphics is in violation of something else, however. They don't have the proper permits to hang signs of any kind on the building. They were cited for that yesterday and have 15 days to obtain the proper permits, remove the signs or face a $250.

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