Three Billboards

Three Billboards


Days ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony, where Three Billboards is a major contender for Best Picture, a street-artist called Sabo put up three billboards in Hollywood to call on the Oscar nominees to use their platforms to fight sexual harassment. The signs read: “And the Oscar for biggest pedophile goes to…”; “We all knew and still no arrests.”; and “Name names on stage or shut the hell up!”

Three Billboards has resonated outside of Hollywood as well. As the humanitarian situation in Syria continues to worsen, many observers blame the inaction of the international community. To broadcast that message, a coalition of medical and humanitarian organizations put up three red billboards in late February outside the United Nations headquarters in New York City to urge the Security Council to vote for a ceasefire in Syria. The billboards read “500,000 dead in Syria”; “And still no action?”; “How come, Security Council?” (The Security Council has since passed a resolution calling for a  temporary ceasefire.)

In recent weeks, there have been many other examples of similar billboards erected to call attention to government or institutional inertia on issues as diverse as gun control, sexual harassment, and press freedom. After a high-school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead earlier this month, an activist group called Avaaz put mobile billboards on trucks and drove them around Miami to call out Florida Senator Marco Rubio for his response to the shooting. They read, “Slaughtered in school”; “And still no gun control?”; “How come, Marco Rubio?”

The Three Billboards approach has been put to use outside of the U.S., too. In London, an activist group named “Justice4Grenfell” plastered three red signs on the side of moving vans to highlight the lack of prosecutions in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 71 people last June and left hundreds of residents homeless.They read, “71 dead”; “And still no arrests?”; “How come?”

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