The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has yanked down a city-wide ad for the historic (sorta) Guns ‘N Roses concerts taking place in Las Vegas this month after a bunch of anger/complaints from the citizens of Las Vegas. The poster, which incorporates artwork from painter Robert Williams* bizarre sci-fi painting titled “Appetite for Destruction,” has a lecherous robot in a compromising position with a defenseless, splayed woman. Oh, and her shirt is ripped open and her panties are around her ankles. You know, typical Disney stuff.
This is not the first time that the band’s use of this painting has caused controversy. Back in 1987, retailers refused to stock GNR’s debut album APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION because Axl & Company wanted to use it as the cover art. In the end, the band fell to label pressure and alternate artwork was used. The painting is more batshit-stupid than rocking. At least, that’s my opinion. I don’t understand GNR’s continued insistence on using it to represent themselves, to be honest.
I’m astounded that the bean counters over at the Hard Rock actually agreed to run the ads. What better way to convince people that your brand is fun for the whole family than a leering, rape-y robot? To be clear, I hate this painting and I wish GNR/Axl would get over their massive hard-on for it...however Las Vegas is known the world-over as “Sin City.” We’re not talking about Orlando, Florida or Branson, Missouri. We’re talking about the smutty-ist, gambling capital of the country. A place where shady looking dudes hand out flyers of chicks you can legally pay to know (like in the Biblical sense).
I can’t imagine the ad was the most misogynistic thing the fanny-pack wearing masses of Las Vegas are being subjected to in a city where selling women is mostly legal. I was recently in Times Square and that place was stuffed to the gills with super-porny clothing ads. I know it’s not the same because none of the Gap ads were violent, but as we all know sex sells and this shit is everywhere these days. Again, I’m not saying I think this ad should be plastered at the airport, welcoming families to Las Vegas (which it was), but I think Las Vegas needs to check itself. I mean, this is Las Vegas we’re talking about. And this poster is a drawing. It doesn’t depict actual human beings, unlike the prostitute ads.
In the end, I can’t help but think that this is just a publicity stunt. This controversy was not only foreseen but wanted, I suppose to generate interest in the concerts and get us all talking–in which case: mission accomplished. Las Vegas should take a long look in the mirror and GNR should put “Appetite for Destruction” (the painting) to rest.