Profanity in Portsmouth Harley-Davidson billboard causing controversy


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A billboard in Portsmouth is turning a lot of heads.

The sign for the Bayside Harley-Davidson store features foul language and some people, including a city councilman, aren’t too happy about it.

The billboard is next to interstate 264 near Frederick Boulevard.

City Councilman Bill Moody said he’s been getting complaints because of the curse word on it, but we’re told the billboard isn’t coming down any time soon.

If you’re driving along I-264 East in Portsmouth, one billboard has many drivers doing a double take.

“If they were aiming to get their billboard noticed, it certainly has proven to do just that,” Moody said.

The sign outside the Bayside Harley store shows a motorcyclist with a message that says “Leave all the bull**** in the wind behind you.”

“We just thought it was really a great explanation of how it feels to ride, wind in your hair and everything in the daily grind behind you,” said Shawn Robinson, general manager of Bayside Harley-Davidson.

You could say it’s an edgier take on the phrase “Hakuna Matata,” but not everyone is as unbothered.

The sign is causing some controversy.

“I’d rather for it not to be displayed in Portsmouth,” Moody said.

Moody told 10 On Your Side he got calls from residents upset about the bad word on the billboard, and he’s not a fan either.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate, but you know, what I think, somebody else might not have a problem with it,” Moody said.

“We’re not afraid to stand behind what we put up,” Robinson said.

Robinson said they’ve received calls too, both good and bad.

“There’s so many other things in society to worry about than a sign but we didn’t mean to offend anybody,” he said.

Some residents want the billboard taken down but Moody said that’s unlikely to happen.

“Billboards are a means of communication. The word on the billboard is protected by the First Amendment,” Moody said.

Robinson doesn’t understand the negative chatter but he’s glad the sign is getting noticed.

“Maybe it brings in one new rider and they can get the experience of riding a Harley,” Robinson said.

Moody said the Harley store is a great business for Portsmouth but he hopes they might reconsider using this type of language in the future.

The store said the sign will stay up through the end of the year.

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