A full-page advertisement in a Tennessee newspaper, which claimed that a nuclear attack on Nashville by 'Islam' will happen next month, has stirred controversy. The ad also claimed that Donald Trump would be the last President of the United States. It featured a picture of Trump with Pope Francis.
The ad that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Tennessean was placed by a group 'Future for America'. It predicted the nuclear attack on Nashville "by Islam", on July 18.
The ad sparked intense outrage, with users calling out the "blatant propaganda" and the "ranting manifesto against Islam". Others asserted that the ad could stir "anti-Muslim sentiments" and called the stunt "despicable and deplorable". A user tweeted that it's "sad that a newspaper would be so desperate for cash they would actively work to harm their readers" and that it has tarnished its credibility.
In a statement, the Tennessean said that it is investigating how the ad got published in the Sunday edition of the newspaper. A similar ad, without the reference of Islam, was published on June 17, as well. Its advertising standards forbid hate speech and ads that do not meet its standards are routinely rejected, the newspaper said.
Earlier on Sunday, its editor Michael A. Anastasi called the ad "horrific" and "utterly indefensible", that "should have never been published". He said that "clearly there was a breakdown in the normal processes" that requires a "careful scrutiny" of its advertising content. He further asserted that its news and sales divisions operate independently.
Kevin Gentzel, President of Marketing Solutions and Chief Revenue Officer for Gannett, the parent company of the newspaper, also issued an apology to the readers. He said an investigation is being undertaken to determine how it all happened.
The Tennessean's local sales leader, Ryan Kedzierski, too issued an apology and said the advertising money that went toward the full-page ad placements would be donated to the American Muslim Advisory Council.