Arts & Culture

No ‘Sex’ for the City of Jerusalem

Women all across America may be planning their big girls’ night out to watch the new Sex and the City movie being released on May 29th, but the women of Jerusalem and Petach Tikva will probably be doing something else, … Read More

By / May 23, 2008

Women all across America may be planning their big girls’ night out to watch the new Sex and the City movie being released on May 29th, but the women of Jerusalem and Petach Tikva will probably be doing something else, for the simple reason that many of them won't even know the movie is in theaters. That's because officials in the cities of Jerusalem and Petach Tikva don’t want the word “sex” to be on display, and have forbidden Forum Films (the Israeli distributor of the movie) from hanging advertisements or posters promoting the flick. The poster – which has a simple black background, the name of the movie in pink letters, and an image of Carrie Bradshaw in a fuchsia dress – does not include any nudity or pornographic messages. It simply states the name of the film. Forum Film responded by stating that they “did not wish to advertise nude women or messages that may offend the feelings of the public in general and specifically of the orthodox population. That is the name of the movie, and we think that it is ridiculous to advertise the brand without the brand name.” Maximedia, the company responsible for outdoor advertising, suggested a compromise. Their idea?  Advertising a movie called “… and the City”, which could actually be considered more suggestive seeing as how it leaves room for interpretation. At least with a name like “Sex and the City” you know what you’re getting. This is not the first time that advertising has been censored in Israel due to the sensitivities of the orthodox population, but it is the first time that a word – and not an image – has been considered too provocative.
An image of Sarah Jessica Parker was altered in a Lux soaps campaign in Israel in 2004 because her dress was considered too revealing. Billboards, which originally flaunted images of the Sex and the City star in a short spaghetti-strap dress, were "frumified", and long sleeves were literally added onto her image after an angry call from a prominent rabbi. The censorship is not limited to sultry women like Parker. Apparently Disney’s Tarzan is too hot to handle as well. When the Tarzan animated movie came out, Forum Films was forced to take down posters that had already been hung in order to add pants to the wild jungle character. Where he’d even get pants in the jungle is beyond me, but obviously we’re not dealing in reason here. For all those Jerusalem and Petach Tikva ladies out there who still want to watch the fabulous four on film – have no fear. The movie may not be advertised, but it’s still coming soon to a theater near you.