Why KENS 5 didn't air the 9/11 mattress video

Some of you have asked why KENS 5 did not air the video of the mattress commercial mocking the 9/11 terror attacks.

My name is Jack Acosta. I’m the news director at KENS 5, and it was my decision. I’m writing to share my reasoning. I’d like to hear what you think.

First, a little background on the story: It’s about a local mattress store that posted a video on Facebook advertising a 9/11 sale. In the video, the actors "accidentally" knock over mattresses stacked like twin towers, and they come crashing down.

The commercial quickly upset a lot of people, and the store pulled it.

Now, some perspective on me: I was working in New York on 9/11. On the day of the attacks, it was my job to go through all of the tape coming in from Ground Zero and decide which material would be aired.

I did that for 12 hours straight, and it affected me deeply. I woke up with nightmares for the next several years.

Here are the points that went into my decision:

  • The ad clearly mocks the tragedy.
     
  • It’s disrespectful to the people who were killed, the people who survived and all of their families.
     
  • The commercial was not a political statement. We talked with the store owner, who said she had no idea anyone would take offense. She offered an apology on camera.

Ultimately, I chose not to show the commercial video on air because I could tell the story without it. We used still images from the commercial instead. Here's how it appeared on KENS 5 Eyewitness News.

We did post the commercial video in our story on Kens5.com and the KENS 5 app. The reasoning there is that people who want to see the commercial will seek it out, and those who don't want to view it don't have to click and play it.

This was a judgment call. Was I right or was I wrong?

As I said at the top, I really want to hear what you think.

 

 

(© 2016 KENS)


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