Written by Jeremy Baumhower
Denny Schaffer has finally done it. The now-removed billboard that featured Denny in a white dress, mocking Caitlyn Jenner, is officially his biggest bit.
The billboard was called “unbelievably offensive” and “disgusting” by media personality and former Star 105 host, Perez Hilton (12M daily visitors). The successful publicity stunt has finally made Denny internationally famous. The UK’s Daily Mail, one of the world’s biggest newspapers (1.5M daily circulation) and websites (11.5M daily visitors), has picked up the story.
Denny called the billboard “a parody”. I disagree; it was unoriginal, uninspired, stupid and not funny.
Not too long ago, people described “blackface” as a form of ‘parody’, but I imagine African-Americans failed to see the humor.
I was not offended by the billboard, but why would I be? I am not LGBT. I have no idea what it’s like to be gay, a lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender. I have never been bullied, been rejected by parents over my sexuality, thought about or committed suicide. Neither has Denny–but my sister has.
I hit the genetic lottery– I was born white, male, and straight. Lucky me.
I am not allowed to decide what’s offensive from things, like billboards, that don’t target me. I’m sure a lot of straight people did not find this offensive whatsoever– because they’re STRAIGHT.
This stupidity offended me because my background is morning radio, and the negative-attention it has brought my home town.
This is not the first time Denny has appeared in drag on a billboard – he did it in the 1990s. In fact, I once appeared on local billboards, dressed as a gay cowboy, promoting my morning show on Tower 98–3, in 2007. But then again, I once was an asshole.
The billboard is offensive to me because of how unnecessary, how costly, and untimely it was. This is not the current issue of Vanity Fair and that’s a monthly magazine. By today’s standards, the story is old. It’s not cheap to place a billboard, especially at the corner of Monroe and Talmadge. Insiders say the advertisement could cost upwards of $8,000 for the month. That’s a lot of money being misspent. Now, Star 105 is in the process of having a replacement billboard created, meaning it’s costing even more.
The craziest part for me is using a billboard at all. People don’t look up while they’re driving– if anything they are looking down at their phones. If Denny had any comprehension of how people got their news and information, he would have used Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share this picture – and done so within days, not months after it debuted. More people would have seen the picture and shared it, if it was a meme. But not Star 105. They spent a good ten thousand for this publicity.
Imagine the attention Star 105 would have earned if they put the $10,000 towards good? If they would have taken the money and hosted a camp for LGBT teens and tweens, surprised a military veteran with a home makeover, or brought Girls on the Run to 10 inner-city schools in Toledo.
Here’s a perfect example
When spent smartly, $10,000 can become viral while surprising others with a beautiful act– something that better reflects the character of Toledoans. Ellen DeGeneres’ TV show does this every day. Denny only had to do it once.
A local 9 year-old boy, Myles Eckert, only needed $20 and he was most talked kid in the world. By the way, Myles’ $20 turned into $2M for war-orphaned children.
The only person designed to benefit from this money spent was Denny Schaffer.
The real victims here are the citizens of Toledo. He unintentionally gave this city another black eye. Something we can’t currently afford.
Every news report about this billboard contains six words; Caitlyn Jenner, Denny Schaffer & Toledo Ohio.
I too, once gave this city a black eye. In 1999, I was the Executive Producer of the Scott Sloan show on WSPD. I co-wrote a bit where Sloan called the very hotel Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in, and tried to book a room for Jesse Jackson. It made national news–the National Chapter of the NAACP protested across the street and we were suspended. Denny Schaffer then piled-on to the controversy when he left a voicemail for local NAACP President, WilliAnn Moore, inviting her to a “rib place” for lunch. Every Clear Channel employee in Toledo, including Denny, had to attend two days of sensitivity training because of an idea I thought was funny.
As I previously mentioned– I once was an asshole.
I don’t believe this billboard accurately portrays Denny’s heart in any way. Denny does not carry any hate or ill-will towards any other human being. He has a strong faith and is a good father. He is a fan of Toledo. He came back to raise his family. I do believe this billboard genuinely reflects how outdated his current show is and its need for evolution.
Mr. Schaffer will soon learn that you never market a bad product. This attention being reaped at the cost of Toledo’s reputation will make people tune in, but it will also remind them as to why they stopped listening and tuned out.
The only “parody” in this news story is Denny’s career, his current lack-luster ratings, and the thought process behind the billboard.
The year is 2015, not 1995.