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Poster rift draws a raft of attention

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PROVO — A poster of a topless woman wearing a string bikini has been removed from a Victoria's Secret store in Provo.

The poster was taken down because it was advertising a sale that has ended, said Victoria's Secret spokesman Anthony Hebron.

Tina Rivera, a mother from Springville, made national headlines after the Deseret News reported Monday that she was circulating a petition asking Victoria's Secret to take down offensive window displays.

She said her 6-year-old son was adversely affected when he stopped and "ogled" a life-size picture of a woman covering her bare chest with her hands.

Rivera was taking her son to the Disney Store, which is next to Victoria's Secret in the Towne Centre Mall.

Rivera complained to management at the store and the mall and was then referred to Victoria's Secret corporate headquarters, where she left several messages that she said have not been returned.

Hebron said the poster had already been removed on Monday because of a change in store marketing. He said that while Victoria's Secret respects the opinions of others it would not remove posters deemed offensive by some.

On Monday, Provo city attorney Gary McGinn visited the Victoria's Secret store in the Towne Centre Mall to see what all the "hubbub" was about. While he said he did not make an official evaluation of the poster he did identify himself as a city attorney.

McGinn recently worked with a local bookstore to make sure minors did not have access to a book with sexually explicit material. The city can regulate material defined as objective under the state code, McGinn said.

Rivera estimates that in the past several days about a thousand people from across the country have logged on to the Web site familynook.com to sign her petition. She hopes that with 100,000 signatures she can convince Victoria's Secret to change their corporate advertising strategy.

"I have two stepchildren that are 5 and 6. I don't want them thinking that it is OK to look at those kinds of posters or pose for those kinds of posters," said Rachell Crook a Utahn who signed the petition.

Conservative talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who is nationally syndicated, mentioned Rivera's fight against Victoria's Secret on her show Tuesday. A radio station in Cleveland has also asked Rivera for an interview.

E-mail: jhyde@desnews.com