A California millionaire purchased billboard space, but what he was advertising was unusual and instantly gained infamy. The billboard was a plea for a “Latina girlfriend” for Christmas. It immediately sparked protest and was taken down over the weekend.
Marc Paskin of San Diego made his millions in real estate, The Associated Press reports. He paid $4,000 for a billboard plea that had his photo and an email address with the simple message, “All I want for Christmas is a Latina girlfriend.”
Photos of the billboard circulated on the Internet almost instantly. Many believed it to be a Photoshopped hoax or part of a viral campaign. But it turned out the billboard was all too real and was quickly vandalized, notes AP.
The billboard was located in the San Diego neighborhood of Barrio Logan, at Interstate 5 and 28th Street, reports KNSD-TV. The billboard first went up Thursday, but was soon vandalized. On Friday morning, the billboard was already defaced with Paskin's email that he had set up, ChristmasLatina@aol.com, being removed although the message was intact. By Friday night, half of the billboard was torn away, reports KNSD.
AP reports that Paskin's wife died nearly 10 years ago from a diabetes-related illness.
Over the weekend, the entire ad was stripped away, leaving a white space instead of Paskin's message, reports KNSD. While the billboard is down, it is unclear if it was vandalized to the point of removal or if Paskin took it down himself.
It is unclear why Paskin decided to purchase the billboard space and used it for the controversial plea, especially for a man who has no history of publicity stunts.. According to AP, Paskin has a history of helping others, including giving a single mother and her daughter an apartment, rent free, to live in for a year. Paskin also appeared on ABC's “Secret Millionaire” where he donated time and money to a Detroit neighborhood.