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‘Sometimes, It’s OK to Throw Rocks at Girls’: Jewelry Billboard Sparks Internet Backlash

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A controversial jewelry billboard that some think encourages violence against women has sparked widespread online outrage.

Featuring the tagline, “Sometimes, it’s OK to throw rocks at girls…,” surrounded by colorful gemstones, the Spicer Greene Jewelers advertisement — which was placed along the interstate in Asheville, N.C. — has been criticized by many who were upset by the slogan.

Spicer Green apologized for the billboard on Facebook Thursday, saying the sign was not intended to convey a violent subtext.

To whom we have offended with our recent billboard, please accept our apologies. We do not condone violence of any kind toward any being. We are humble enough to realize when we make a mistake and humble enough to realize the context in which we are speaking. We did not intend to cause controversy and our billboard communicated something we did not intend. We intended the billboard as a play on words to encourage the loving act of gift giving and are deeply saddened that it offended anyone.

However, many Twitter users took to the social media site to denounce the ad, calling it “misogynistic” and “tone-deaf.” It even caught the attention of Chelsea Clinton, who tweeted, “Talking about hitting girls is never funny. Ever.”

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com