Controversial billboard in SF depicts Mayor Breed with her feet up, smoking, and holding stack of bills

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Sunday, October 20, 2019
Controversial billboard depicts SF mayor smoking, holding stack of bills
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Ellen Lee Zhou, a San Francisco social worker running for Mayor of San Francisco, paid for a billboard that has raised controversy in the SoMa district.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Ellen Lee Zhou, a San Francisco social worker running for Mayor of San Francisco, paid for a billboard that is raising controversy in the SoMa district.

"I think it's interesting. I live in this area so hopefully, it doesn't cause too much controversy," said SoMa resident David Pham.

The billboard located on Dore Street shows a cartoon of a woman with her feet up, smoking, and holding a stack of money.

A man can be seen carrying a young girl with a quote under it: "Stop slavery and human trafficking in SF" and "Vote Ellen Zhou Nov 5th for Mayor."

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Luz Pena: Who is the woman wearing that red dress?

Ellen Zhou: I believe it symbolizes London Breed.

Luz Pena: You believe or was that the intention?

Ellen Zhou: I believe that was the intention.

Luz Pena: Do you think that's disrespectful?

Ellen Zhou: No, not at all. I think that's freedom of press and freedom of speech.

Zhou also ran for mayor last year and told ABC7 News she didn't mean for the billboard to be controversial, but for people to focus on her message.

"I will declare an emergency to invite a higher level of care for people to come in and clear and clean the streets, arrest the drug dealers and separate them for the services they need. Sixty percent of the homeless have addictions," said Zhou.

The candidate also wants to stop car break-ins, clean the streets, and provide housing for teachers and workers.

RELATED: Voters weigh in on SF Mayor London Breed's job performance

"To me, it symbolizes a mayor that is talking and thinking about change, but not doing about change," said Zhou about depicting Mayor London Breed this way.

Many SoMa residents see this as disrespectful.

"It's an unfair depiction of London Breed. I think as the mayor she's not counting her money. She's probably working and San Francisco has a lot going on and there's a lot of work," said Jack Piper.

Others are now curious.

"It makes me want to know who Ellen Zhou is," said Greg Lawler.

In a statement, Maggie Muir with Mayor London Breed's campaign responded: "This blatantly racist and sexist ad has no place in our political discourse or our City. Race-baiting like this is divisive, dangerous and shameful, and must be rejected."