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Louisville Airport ‘Censoring’ Ad Campaign Highlighting Women's Issues, Group Says

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An activist group took the Louisville International Airport to task Thursday for rejecting its ads aimed at raising awareness about a number of women’s issues.UltraViolet is a liberal-leaning national organization behind a series of billboards appearing across the U.S. that highlight paycheck fairness, minimum wage increases, and paid family leave.The ad campaign is targeting tourists at airports and other locations in several states, including Kentucky. Its billboards also present information about policies affecting women's health and economic security ahead of the 2014 election."Part of the reason Kentucky is on the list is women make an average 76 cents on a man’s dollar," said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet. "Women in Kentucky have to pay extra for complete reproductive care and there’s no access to paid sick and maternity leave, and really that’s something not just women but families need."Airport spokeswoman Trish Burke told WFPL the decision to reject the billboard wasn’t politically motivated and instead based on terminal guidelines.The Louisville Regional Airport Authority has an agreement with an in-terminal advertising operator. Those rules limit ads to those with a commercial purpose and do not include political or religious views."I think you will find that it is not uncommon for airports to have policies such as this to preserve a politically neutral and welcoming environment for airport guests," Burke said in an e-mail response to WFPL. "It’s my understanding that the airports in Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton and New Orleans have similar guidelines."Women's issues have been a major part of Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes’bid to unseat Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell this fall. UltraViolet targeted Kentucky because of the federal delegation's votes against certain proposal such as the Lilly Ledbetter Act and the Violence Against Women Act, Chaudhary said.An UltraViolet spokesperson confirmed their billboards in other cities have been rejected at every airport the group has submitted them to, including New Orleans, Houston, Cleveland, and Charlotte.Chaudhary said Louisville airport officials should reconsider because UltraViolet is simply trying to educate tourists about basic facts regarding women."It’s really quite simple, this is the factual state of women in Kentucky," she said. "And if Kentucky authorities don’t like it then they should be working to change it, not censoring our ads that are just providing people with information and information people should know."UltraViolet plans to expand its campaign as a result to billboards outside the Louisville airport and online ads to deliver their message.