PA Port Authority Set to Remove Messages Called Offensive When ‘Read Backwards’ From Buses

Bus slogan called offensive

*Well, you may chalk the following up to people just looking for something to complain about, or see it as a real problem.

Those are your options.

However officials at the Pittsburgh Port Authority  confirm that they recently received complaints that one of its slogans, “Ziggin Zaggin,” is offensive when read backwards; and appears to spell out a racial slur.

And they are taking the complaints seriously and will remove the slogans from the buses, as a result.

Now you could ask yourself: Who goes around reading things backwards? 

Or you could take this stance: Just another slick move by the white man.

Either way, the slogans, originally created as part of a promotional campaign, will be going buh-bye.

Jim Ritchie with the Port Authority says,  

“… due to recent complaints about how this message appears when read backward, we have decided to remove the message from our vehicles This will take us several days to properly remove. We apologize to anyone who may have been offended.”

A female driver had complained after seeing the slogan on a bus in her rear-view mirror She said it spells out a racial slur when read backwards.

“In terms of the message being offensive it’s not a surprise at all. It’s a very serious and hurtful and offensive message. We felt the best thing to do was simply take it off,” Ritchie said.

According to the PA, the slogan has been wrapped around nine buses since 2003 without incident or complaint. It was part of a marketing campaign that comprised of six different slogans like “Rockin’ Rollin’” and “Movin’ Groovin’.”

But opinions are mixed. And not everyone sees the issue as a big deal.

“It may be an overreaction, but I can see where some people would be offended,” Cynthia Sharkey, of Moon Township, said.

“I don’t think it’s really a racial slur or anything,” Benjamin Dixon, of Homewood, said.

“Who really thinks about looking at it backwards? It’s ‘Ziggin’ and Zaggin’.’ A vehicle zigs and zags through the city to pick somebody up. It’s a bus,” Antwon Manson of the Hill District said.

But none of that matters to the PA. Its just easier to get rid of the slogan. And they don’t anticipate a high cost of removal.

“Our employees can do it in house. Our employees can do that and peel it off,” Ritchie said.

A couple of windows may need to be replaced if the signage leaves a mark when it’s peeled off.

“We might have to put some sort of vinyl covering on it to make sure the mark is completely covered,” Ritchie anticipates.

And since it’s just nine buses out of an entire fleet of 700 that has this slogan, there is no anticipation that service will be disrupted.


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