Updated: May 18
OREM, Utah — A company owner claims reverse sexism after he says his ad was not allowed to appear on an Orem mall billboard because the photos were deemed inappropriate.
“It’s like a gross upside down morality,” Cesar Valentino Valdizan told Fox 13.
Valentino, founder of Super Seed International, a local health and beauty company created 15 years ago in Provo, says it tried to grow its business by buying an ad on the digital billboard on the University Place Mall.
“It’s time to start doing billboard advertising, because that’s a bigger type of advertisement than advertisements on social media, Instagram, Facebook, you name it. Billboard is the next level," said Valentino.
Valentino said he was working out a lease agreement after mall officials told him he could not advertise on the billboard without having a store inside the retail center. However, things came to a halt when officials allegedly refused to showcase the photos that showed Valentino in an unbuttoned shirt.
"We were not allowed to advertise the photographs that we had intended to advertise because they were considered inappropriate," Valentino said.
Valentino believes he was discriminated against because of his gender.
"Why are you allowing Victoria's Secret to advertise female models and you will not allow an advertisement with a male model," Valentino asks.
Victoria's Secret ads are seen on the storefront inside the mall, but not on the outside billboard.
The Woodbury Corporation, which owns University Place, and Compass Advertising responded to FOX 13 with a statement.
"The large digital sign on the 545 University Place office building is the first of its kind in the state of Utah, intended to be an aesthetic, architectural feature which abides by zoning ordinances and guidelines related to community standards."
"Advertising within a tenants' lease space is under the reasonable discretion of University Place and the tenant."
Valentino is considering legal action to be able to display his ads, but wants to bring the issue of possible reverse discrimination to light.