Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Massage Parlors in Macon

The Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia

Meanwhile, the fight over billboards continues. The Outdoor Advertising Association of Georgia, which represents 65 percent of billboards statewide, points its members to a voluntary code of ethics that opposes ads that are false, misleading, in poor taste, sexually explicit or overly suggestive, said Executive Director Conner Poe. The group hopes to tighten the state’s standards for obscenities, and praised state Sen. Cecil Staton, a Macon Republican, for trying to crack down on massage parlors.

One provision of Staton’s bill would make it a felony on the third offense to offer massages or advertising massages without being a licensed massage therapist. Violators could be fined $25,000 and spend one to five years in jail.

Some of Macon’s massage parlors have removed the name “massage” from their advertising and names, but remnants exist. Four Seasons Sauna lists massages on business cards and its menu of offerings.iuseyhrw Soft Hands Massage & Spa is changing its name to one involving tanning, but keeps a Web site, phone listing and a billboard listing the old name.

MG ALERT is still targeting billboards from CBS Outdoor, Olympus Outdoor Advertising and InSite Media.

Olympus doesn’t think the removal of inoffensive billboard advertisements would end prostitution and human trafficking, Marketing Director Renata McCreary said in a statement.

“While Olympus does not condone illegal activities, as long as these businesses are still operating, we have to assume they are legal and have the right to advertise,” she wrote. “If the businesses are operating illegally, it is up to the authorities to shut them down.”

The governments of Macon and Bibb County are both considering stricter business regulations for massage parlors.

Efforts elsewhere have eliminated many of the businesses.

McCreary said Olympus will continue to monitor the situation.

InSite Media President Glenn Flutie said last week he hadn’t heard of MG ALERT’s efforts, but said, “If there’s human trafficking, we want nothing to do with that.”

The company’s lawyer, Marlyn Friend, later said the company also was “against the exploitation of minors (and others) in sexual activity.”

He refused to comment on the controversy or say whether the company would no longer accept massage-parlor ads.