LONDON – A British advertising watchdog criticized American rapper "50 Cent" Wednesday for a billboard that shows him with a gun tucked in his jeans and a baby over his shoulder.
The advertisement for his latest album and film, "Get Rich or Die Tryin," could be seen as condoning the use of weapons, the Advertising Standards Authority said in a report released Wednesday. The independent authority, which regulates the industry, issued the report after 17 people complained and asked that the billboard come down.
Universal Music Group, the company behind the ad campaign, said the poster shows the artist's fight to escape the ghetto. It also said the images of the child and the gun represented life choices 50 Cent — whose real name is Curtis Jackson — had to make.
"... His association with gang culture and criminal behavior was likely to be seen as glamorizing and condoning the possession and use of guns," said the agency.
In November, a billboard company in Philadelphia agreed to remove 21 billboards promoting 5- Cent's same album and film. The billboard used in the U.S. campaign showed the rapper with a gun in one hand and a microphone in the other.
The British watchdog criticized 50 Cent in May for being in a Reebok TV commercial where he is shown counting from one to nine — the number of times he was shot. He is later shown laughing and staring at the camera after a voice-over asks: "Who do you plan to massacre next?"