“Throw Rocks at Girls” Jewelry Billboard Sparks Controversy

Spicer Greene Jewelers in Asheville, N.C., is finding itself at the center of a controversy over a billboard it’s currently running that features colorful gemstones floating around the phrase, “Sometimes, it’s ok to throw rocks at girls…”

The billboard, which went up last week in the progressive mountain town, has been accused, both online and in the press, of normalizing and promoting violence against girls and women.

Fast Company tweeted a photo of the billboard with the caption, “Least creative thing of the day: This billboard urges you to ‘throw rocks at girls.’”

Chelsea Clinton retweeted Fast Company’s tweet and remarked, “Talking about hitting girls is never funny. Ever.”

WLOS, the local ABC affiliate in Asheville, reported yesterday that a small protest took place Sunday in front of the store, with around 15 people holding signs with messages including, “Violent words lead to violence. Don’t shop here.”

The jewelry store issued an apology on Facebook, saying, “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.”

The apology sounds heartfelt, but it seems to be for optics only—the billboard is still standing.

The jewelry retailer could not be reached for comment this morning (the store is closed Mondays and the message did not include an option to leave a voicemail), but reports indicate that Spicer Greene Jewelers changes its billboard every four weeks.

Comments under the retailer’s apology on Facebook range from folks defending the billboard’s message (phrases like, “Buck up, Snowflakes” abound) to those disturbed that the jeweler would fail to make the connection between throwing rocks in a presumably fun way and true violence against women.

“No offense taken!” wrote one Facebooker. “It’s a crazy world when you can’t take things at their heart and with a smile. Throw those ‘rocks’ at me anytime.”

Another wrote, “Just words…put your money where your mouth is and donate to a shelter for abused women.”

Using girls instead of women in an ad from a company that clearly targets grown-ups was presumably meant to conjure images of little boys mistreating girls they “like” on the playground, an outdated construct some critics of the ad quickly decried.

“Normalizing and finding humor in the, ‘He hit you because he likes you’ mentality that we feed to children is not ok,” wrote Facebook user Shannon Page in a post that garnered hundred of comments. “Small steps like this lead to a culture of violence against women. Also, children will not see the humor in this billboard. All they will see is, ‘It’s ok to throw rocks at girls.’ “

At best, the billboard is a tone-deaf piece of marketing—created by individuals who are out of step with (or insulated from) the angst many Americans are currently feeling over how to protect the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, including women in domestic abuse situations, if and when government protections for them vanish under the current administration.

The apology was a great first step, Spicer Greene. So why is the billboard still up?

JCK Magazine Editor


  • Olivia Nugent

    They should know better in a town like Asheville! But, they got free online publicity from a physical advertisement. I like the fancy color visual element, highlighting the playful schoolyard ploy they were attempting. Arguably poor taste. Writer just insinuated that this billboard and the “current administration” is and will be responsible for abuse of women – How out of step and deeply insulated of a statement. JCK, sharing in the woes of small jewelry businesses or tearing them down one politicized article at a time?

    • Paul

      The ad says nothing about abuse, it is about jewelry. Maybe we should not “throw” a party for a woman because it is insinuating “abuse”?

  • what a joke….I can’t believe people are getting mad about this. With all the advertising we have ran and have received some negative, I would never back down from a message I was trying to get across.

  • scarlet pimpernel

    Moronic PC fools. This constant surrendering to the leftest Marxists has only encouraged their attacks. Their is no end game for the leftest; just like in Mao’s communist China. When their battle is won; then they bring on the “cultural revolution.”

    • Lapidary Artist

      Thank god the almighty Donald has taken control, who will wipe the leftie, the communists and China from the face of the earth and restore us all back to the good old days. He’ll put everyone in their rightful place as serfs in a utopian united states of russia. Moron, the ad is understandably offensive and poorly created.

      • scarlet pimpernel

        Moron that includes “Trump.” Why would you mention him; some kind of mental illness that you have?
        PC fools like you are offended by the Sun rising & the Sun setting.

      • Viktory

        You apparantly have actually been hit in the head by a rock.

  • Sarah

    Have to admit I’ve seen a few jewelry ads that were in poor taste –usually waaaayyy too much cleavage, etc.– but I wouldn’t have even put this near the list of “questionable” ads. Using the term “girls” might be slightly juvenile, but calling gems “rocks” is sort of kitsch too and we all do it. (Plus, I’ve worked retail and in my experience the older a woman gets the more likely she is to treasure vestiges of “girlhood” –and we’ve all known a few gray-haired men who will consider themselves the boys of Summer until they die of old age.) If the protestors are eager to hurt a small business than they are probably succeeding in a very marginal sort of way. If the protestors want to do something to help women who are actually being physically harmed then they are obviously wasting their own time. There are serious issues out there. This billboard isn’t one of them.

  • How long has the billboard been up? It’s not the kind of thing that you just take down on a whim. I imagine they are working on replacing it.

  • andrew meyer

    Hard to believe this reaction. We
    need to be able to laugh. It’s obvious this was meant to be cute. I know the Greens. They are good people trying to be funny.

  • piltdownman

    Is this one of those specious “micro aggressions” we’ve heard of, or is there a larger context in which people find this offensive? I’m not sure. The best advertising often tries to “twist” a phrase in a unique way, which is what this did. It reminds me a bit of Jerry Seinfeld, who now apparently avoids colleges because the students find everything “offensive” or “racist” or “sexist” in some way. Sure, there is no end to violence against women, but I don’t see that outdoor as promoting or normalizing it in any way. Best thing for them to do is to take it down, put another vinyl up that they have standing by, and just move on….

  • Jim Adair

    ISIS is cutting the heads off of Christians and anybody else they can catch and female genital mutilation is still widely practiced in the muslim world and idiots in America are offended by a light hearted ad. For that they find time to protest. What the hell is wrong with the parents who raised such fools.

  • lawrencecollins

    ts a good thought but because of the times now its just simple not good. Yes its nice good thought but change to Throw Gems and Diamonds . Much better for the crazy times we have now.

  • Michael Abushakra

    It is creative and in my opinion cute. It’s unfortunate that there is absolutely no sense of humor in our country anymore. What frustrated me is that there are people who will now make it their lives mission to destroy this store. Never giving thought to how much they do for the community (this is only an assumption). Put your​ efforts into helping the people you are getting offended for, not destroying those that offend you. No one saw that billboard on their way home from work and thought “that’s a great idea! I’m going to go throw rocks at my wife!”. Domestic abuse sickens me, and there should be no tolerance for it. This billboard, however, is not the problem.

  • scarlet pimpernel

    Notice the snowflakes always bring in the “children.” Guess we don’t have parents that teach their children right from wrong . What about rice throwing at weddings? The left is just maliciously stupid.

    • Lapidary Artist

      So you subscribe to Breitbart News. Says it all.
      Most rationale thinking people who read your recent Disqus posts would be horrified and I warn anyone that the language used is extremely offensive and worse.
      You’re nothing more than a disgrace Sir and I expect you will continue to hound people like the nasty moronic troll you are.

      • scarlet pimpernel

        Socialist robot ; I receive this publication because I am part of the industry (importer). Your understanding is limited. No parents to teach you?

    • Thomas Ris

      I think they use the term “tossing” at weddings…seems a little softer doesn’t it.,,,, ; )

      • scarlet pimpernel

        I have heard both terms used; but that is not the issue;

        *it is up to parents to teach their children;*
        If someone is “violent” to women; then arrest them.
        Isn’t most violence towards women; taught by violent fathers.
        it is always possible to “read into almost anything”

        • Thomas Ris

          I meant my comment as a joke. I really think people need to lighten up. Now if the ad had a lady with a black eye with that tag line I would say it would be offensive but it’s clearly written in a “fun” tone

          • scarlet pimpernel

            thanks for telling me; glad to hear that there is a person with a sense of humor;

  • Thomas Ris

    There will always be someone that has an issue with what we say or how we say it.

    Just like reading “At best, the billboard is a tone-deaf piece of marketing—created by individuals who are out of step with (or insulated from) the angst many Americans are currently feeling over how to protect the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, including women in domestic abuse situations” and picking out the “our nations most vulnerable citizens” so are you saying all women are vulnerable? They are the weakest of the herd? You see what I mean…