The Department of Health in Washington state will be taking down an anti-marijuana billboard today following backlash on Twitter. Earlier this week, Mike Faulk -- a journalist from St. Louis -- tweeted a picture of the billboard in Yakima, Washington that reads, "We don't need pot to have fun. We're hispanics...we're cool by default."
This anti-marijuana billboard in Yakima was paid for by the WA Department of Health. Some find it, well, offensive. pic.twitter.com/NbnoJ5Cw7f— Mike Faulk (@Mike_Faulk) July 25, 2017
The tweet sparked immediate backlash against the Department of Health for living up to its unfortunate acronym (DOH). Many felt the campaign's decision to single out and stereotype one ethnic group was offensive to hispanics. Others thought the message was offensive to anyone with intelligence.
This is Stupider than the Saved By The Bell episode where they anti-drug PSA director does blow in the bathroom & gets caught by Zack pic.twitter.com/Ng0biYhAfR— Eliel Lucero (@ElielLucero) July 25, 2017
Some played with the ad's logic, wondering if it was actually promoting cannabis consumption among non-Hispanic people.
So this ad is saying that as a white person, if I smoke pot, I will become as cool as a Hispanic? Neat!— Dana Larsen (@DanaLarsen) July 26, 2017
.So does this mean that non-Hispanics need pot to have fun? https://t.co/HiPDgku92x— Chris (@chri5jb) July 27, 2017
And a lot of people were simply offended that their tax dollars were wasted on an inept anti-cannabis campaign.
Our tax dollars at work! Does @WAHealth actually believe this changed anyone's views of cannabis? Use our resources better you fools.— Jordan Armel Branfort (@armelhealth) July 26, 2017
So they took it out on the usual suspect -- America's marijuana-hating attorney general.
Who on Earth though this was acceptable???— Deirdre 🌹♋ (@DCM_TH) July 25, 2017
Probably Jeff Sessions— Brian #LivingTheDream 🦌🇺🇸🦎🌵🦂🚛 (@brian480480) July 25, 2017
But the health department took the blame for the campaign. Well, most of the blame. DOH spokesperson Julie Graham told the New York Daily News that the ad was designed by the department in consultation with about 60 local kids who were asked to help get the message out to their Hispanic peers.
In other words, they threw those 60 kids under the bus. Or that's how the explanation came across to some critics, at least.
So the billboard has become so toxic, even the damage-control campaign is backfiring. And as though things weren't bad enough for the DOH, they also got shown up by the opposition.