Bell, Mohegan May Pull Ads From Boston

A headline that has sparked a racial uproar may cost Boston magazine thousands of dollars in advertising from Bell Atlantic and Mohegan Sun.
Bell Atlantic, which has slated $40,000 in ads for Boston this year, has sent a letter to the monthly publication threatening to stop advertising if the editors do not apologize for a headline in its April issue that reads, “Head Negro in Charge.”
Bozell, TBWA Chiat/Day and The Lord Group, all New York, place ads in Boston for the telecommunications giant. Arnold Communications in Boston also buys media for Bell Atlantic, but agency officials said it has not placed ads for the client in the magazine this year.
Executives at Mohegan Sun, the Uncasville, Conn., casino owned by the Mohegan tribe, are holding discussions with Mintz & Hoke on whether to continue advertising in Boston, said Bob Shamyer, media director for the Avon, Conn., agency.
The headline appears twice in the issue, both on the cover and on the page introducing a profile of Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Harvard University. Members of the Urban League and the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have taken offense and are demanding an apology.
Boston editor Craig Unger recently issued a statement of regret that fell short of a formal apology. Magazine officials did not return calls.
“We found the headline to be insensitive and offensive and have not been satisfied with the response of the magazine,” said Bell Atlantic representative Jack Hoey.
As for Mohegan Sun, Shamyer said Mintz & Hoke will re-evaluate the situation “when we go into planning for the next term.”