Group lambasted over suggestive 9/11 flyer

Sex sells, except for when it comes to something serious like 9/11.

And one group from Napa is discovering that, ahem, the hard way.

A flyer promoting next week’s installation of Napa’s 9/11 memorial, a monument made of 30 tons of steel from the World Trade Center, has been making rounds and raising quite a few eyebrows along the way.

The event flyer, which also promotes a fundraiser for the project, features an artist depiction of the centerpiece with an invitation for the public to:

“Please join us to celebrate Napa’s 30-ton erection!”

The flyer was created by the group Napa4ward, which formed this spring to raise the last $14,000 needed for the memorial’s completion.

The quartet consists of City Councilman Alfredo Pedroza, memorial designer Gordon Huether, and businessmen Ryan Gregory and Kevin Teague.

All four members signed off on the headline, which Pedroza said was supposed to “re-energize folks” around the project:

“At the end of the day, our intention is to raise money for the memorial.”

Well, the flyer has certainly called attention to the project, though not in the way the group hoped for.

A recent editorial from the Napa Valley Register called the flyer “offensive and tone-deaf”:

“[The] adolescent humor attempted in the flyer attaches a terrible message to a three-year-old project promoted as a place for solemn reflection and remembrance.”

The editorial also suggested the flyer’s art, a depiction of the memorial garden’s vertical beams, looks phallic. But artist Huether vehemently denies the art or the headline was supposed to be sexual. He accused the writer behind op-ed of “watching too much porn.

Anyone offended, said Huether, should maybe “think about how you think about things”:

“Erection of steel is a very common, professional term. It has nothing to do with sex.”

Santa Rosa political consultant Herb Williams called the incident a “very unfortunate media error,” but said the headline was probably unintentional.

In an email to the Press Democrat, he wrote:

“It was a stupid error. It should have read ‘Erecting Napa’s 30-Ton Memorial.'”

Napa’s 9/11 Memorial Garden begins installation Wednesday at 7 a.m. It is expected to be finished by Sept. 11.