A mere ten days away from the big screen return of Carrie Bradshaw and her coven of archetypal besties, we think it's safe to say that the world is gripped by a severe case of Sex and the City fever. It's an epidemic from which virtually no crevice of the globe is immune, with everyone from Peruvian goat herders to Bangladeshi rug merchants clinking Cosmos and debating which of Carrie & Co. most closely aligns with their own personalities. ("I don't know, Paramjeet—you're more of a Miranda than a Charlotte if you ask me.") Yes, even Israelis can identify with the prickly-on-the-outside, sweet-and -desperately- lonely-on- the-inside nature of the series's protagonists—but try telling that to the ultra-Orthodox residents of Jerusalem, who have demanded its billboards be taken down for its offensive use the word "Sex." (To say nothing of its star's obscenely naked head, completely bereft of a round-challah-shaped wig with a doily bobby pinned to it.) The AP reports:
"We told them, the way you don't remove the word "Coca" from "Coca-Cola" and just leave "Cola," we can't do it in this case," [Arye Barak, the film's Israeli distributor] said. "It's ludicrous."
This isn't the first time movie advertisers have come under pressure from the religious. When the animated Disney movie "Tarzan" was released here, Tarzan's loincloth created an uproar among religious Jews who found it provocative, Barak said. The outdoor posters that were already hung were taken down so the cloth could be enlarged, he said.
Nor is this the first time that "Sex and the City" has run afoul of Israeli religious sensibilities. Several years ago, a poster and billboard campaign showing star Sarah Jessica Parker in a skimpy, sequined dress was quickly pulled and replaced with new ads of her in a dress that covered her arms, back and thigh.
Had the marketers been a little savvier about the finer geocultural differences of their various international markets, not only could they have avoided this controversy, but they could have probably even boosted ticket sales: There's no telling how many beardel bums they could have put into seats had the campaign focused instead on Charlotte's subplot of perfecting the low-carb matzoh ball as she plans the most important Shabbos dinner of Harry's career.