Not funny, said an offended high school student
A breast-size billboard controversy recently came to an end after two freeway signs that advertised a plastic surgery center in Murrieta were changed.
The first sign, which read "Size Matters," was placed in January above the I-15 freeway, just north of Temecula, and featured two coffee cups: a small one with the letter "B" on it, and a large cup stamped with the letter "D."
Anna Gorski, 17, a local high school student who was offended by the sign, contacted the surgery center by email in May, according to Dr. Brian Eichenberg, an award-winning plastic surgeon who owns Renuance Cosmetic Surgery Center.
"She put up a protest and asked if I'd remove the sign," he said. "She explained her views and I explained mine."
Anna was offended by the sign and called it "demeaning" and "objectifying'" in a letter she wrote to the center. But the surgeon said he wasn't going to back down from his right to free speech and remove it.
"We meant for it to promote a discussion and be a bit controversial," Eichenberg said. He also said it was the first time he had invested in billboard advertising and was proud of the creative "Size Matters" sign he first saw in his home state of Michigan.
"Plastic surgeons, in general, are creative," he said. "I shape and mold people every day."
Anna launched a change.org campaign, which ultimately generated more than 800 signatures. According to the petition, Anna wrote, "We as a community, should have the right to live in a city without having to be reminded that someone's breast size isn't good enough."
Eichenberg said that he respected the young woman's determination, but the sign was not going to come down. He said many of the signatures spanned nationwide and did not represent local views.
Dr. Eichenberg's second billboard did not prompt a change.org campaign.
Even a threatening voice message left on his office phone that prompted a police report did not sway Eichenberg's stance on the billboard. He said someone called in May and threatened to enter the practice with a firearm due to the billboard. The male caller was not caught, but the surgeon said they still continue to lock the doors in the surgery center during office hours.
What Eichenberg did next was invest in an additional sign — this one an electronic billboard on the I-215 Freeway near Perris that included the message: “STOP MAKING MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLEHILLS — LEAVE THAT TO US,” followed by the surgery center’s name located underneath.
“I thought my response was much funnier than changing the billboard,” Eichenberg said. A lot of new business has been generated as a result of the billboards, he said. The “Size Matters” billboard came down at the end of July after the contract expired. Eichenberg said that both billboards had been up long enough and it was time to feature something new.
“Bringing Sexy Back” is the latest billboard to promote Eichenberg’s services; it shows a bikini-clad mother holding a child on her back.