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Group says paper doesn't belong in Woods


August 07, 2014
Representatives of the group Metro Detroit Against Metro Times brought their concerns to the city council in Grosse Pointe Woods Monday night, and their request to have the weekly tabloid banned from the city was referred to the city attorney.

The Metro Times publishes want ads the group feels are sexually explicit and should be banned under municipal anti-nuisance ordinances.

"By allowing the Metro Times to be distributed in your city, you are allowing sexually explicit materials to be disseminated to minors," group founder Andrea Lavigne told the council. "We demand you immediately remove the Metro Times from the Woods."

Lavigne expressed concern the newspaper was readily available from boxes located on city sidewalks, making it easy for children to access the paper.

Mayor Robert Novitke said he appreciated the group's concern, but before the city could take any action, he requested city attorney Chip Berschback review the city's ordinances and how a ban could impact the Times' First Amendment rights.

Another charge leveled against the Metro Times is by publishing ads for adult entertainment sites and services, it supports human trafficking, citing a belief many of the young women who work in the adult entertainment industry do not do so by their own choice. They contend the women are often under age and victims of human trafficking, which the Metro Times is supporting by running the ads.

The human trafficking charge was supported by Woods resident Roseanne Horne, president of the local chapter of Soroptimist International, a global women's organization committed to improving the lives of women and girls.

The organization has been on the forefront of working to combat the sexual exploitation of women and girls and works to combat human trafficking.

"We believe there is a link between these ads and human trafficking," she told the council. "We are very concerned about the message these ads send."

Sarah Demir, another member of Metro Detroit Against Metro Times, told the council since they started the campaign to have the tabloid removed from local libraries and city streets, the paper has tempered the ads it runs.

But it is clear toned-downed ads are not what the group wants.

"The Metro Times can be offered for free because it makes its money by selling these sexual services," she said. "I'm begging you as a mom to take this paper out of your city."

Novitke asked Berschback to research the options available to the city and report back to the council.

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