Jonestown Billboards Cult References. Jonestown has been used for billboards that uses cult references to promote a northern Indiana restaurant. Residents find the advertisements offensive and have lodged complaints about the 1978 massacre in which more than 900 people died.
Jeff Leslie, vice president of sales and marketing at Hacienda, acknowledged that the billboards were a mistake. He said the South Bend-based company ordered the signs removed less than two weeks into Hacienda’s new advertising campaign.
“Our role is not to be controversial or even edgy. We want to be noticed – and there’s a difference,” Leslie told the South Bend Tribune. “We have a responsibility to (advertise) with care, and that’s why we’re pulling this ad. We made a mistake and don’t want to have a negative image in the community.”
The billboards included the statement, “We’re like a cult with better Kool-Aid,” over a glass containing a mixed drink, as well as the phrase “To die for!”
In November 1978, more than 900 members of Jim Jones’ People’s Temple drank cyanide-laced, grape-flavored punch in a mass murder and suicide in the group’s compound in Guyana.
Patricia Barbera-Brown of South Bend, who lives a few blocks away from one of the billboards, said she was so shocked when she initially read the message that she drove around the block.
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