More than 100 people show up to protest controversial North Carolina billboard

Posted at 5:14 PM, Feb 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-26 20:44:58-05

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. - More than 100 people gathered to protest a controversial billboard in Forsyth County on Sunday.

It's just seven words long but was enough to start a firestorm: "Real men provide. Real women appreciate it."

The billboard sits along an interstate in North Carolina. Some people find the message sexist.

Sunday, people fought that message with one of their own.

"I was frustrated immediately, that it was there but not surprised at all," said Molly Grace, who organized Sunday's protest. "We should probably make this a really positive message instead of just saying we oppose it."

Originally the protest was going to be held Sunday morning directly under the billboard, but that would have had protesters standing directly next to a busy interstate, so for safety's sake, Grace moved it to downtown Winston-Salem.

Messages like "real men respect all women" and "real people treat others as equals" were draped across the lawn in downtown Winston-Salem.

However, not everyone agrees the billboard’s message is wrong. Dana Pavlick brought her family all the way from Raleigh to protest the event.

"The organizer of this event was saying that the message of the billboard: real men provide real women appreciate it, was socially unacceptable," Pavlick told WGHP. "It hit me between the eyes that what that was saying is that this real woman who appreciates what that real man provides, we are socially unacceptable."

It's unsure who put the billboard up. Bill Whiteheart, president of Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising, says the group that rented the billboard wants to stay anonymous, for now.

Whiteheart would say the billboard cost the group about $2,000 and was put up Friday morning. The billboard is rented for 30 days but can be renewed to run longer if the group desires.