Jewelry store faces backlash over billboard

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina jewelry store is getting lots of attention over its newest billboard.

It says, “Sometimes, it’s OK to throw rocks at girls.”

Many people say it’s harmless, and the message is all about context. But many others are upset and want it taken down.

“I’m truly sorry that it offended anybody, that was not our intention,” Spicer Greene Jewelers owner Eva-Michelle Spicer told WLOS. “The billboard was intent to be a nostalgic thought of a childhood teaching, that it’s not OK to throw rocks at girls. It’s not OK to throw rocks at anyone. It saddens me that it was taken that way, because it certainly wasn’t intended.”

Dozens of people lashed out online.

“We need to stop normalizing and making light of any form of violence against women,” Jacque Gowan said. “In case you can’t tell by my use of the word, we are women not girls!”

The director of Helpmate, an Asheville domestic violence survivors shelter that Spicer Greene held a fundraiser for in November, says the billboard reinforces a culture that confuses love and abuse.

“So what we need to do is draw clear and distinct lines that even in a joking manner, we’re not gonna mix an expression of love and an expression of violence. Those are very separate and different things: one of which is very sweet, the other of which is very dangerous,” said Helpmate Director April Burgess-Johnson

The owners say they’ve gotten some support by phone and online.

“Post more billboards. I have a sense of humor and y’all rock,” Zach Richardson said.

The owners say they will donate 10 percent of sales through Sunday to Helpmate.