For many TV viewers, a conservative super PAC-funded advertisement called “Lakeview Scream” was seen during Sunday’s Chicago Bears game, and the spot sparked immediate controversy.
The advertisement, funded by the conservative “People Who Play by the Rules” PAC, is critical of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s handling of crime.
The ad consists of doorbell video showing an attack on a woman in Lakeview. The only audio contained within the advertisement is the victim’s screams.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey, whom has been the subject of favorable ads from the PAC, says he is not in contact with the group, but also says he does not dispute their message.
“What they do, they do on their own,” Bailey said. “If they are helping make people aware of what’s going on, I think that’s a good thing.”
During a news conference Monday, Pritzker called the ad “disgusting.” He also criticized the Super PAC that released the ad, arguing that “the intent of the people who put it out…look at all the things that they are involved in…clearly has a racial tinge to it.”
Dan Proft, the political consultant and former radio host who helped create the ad, lashed out at the governor on Twitter, saying he could not make out the race or races of the perpetrators in the video.
“Either he has racial X-ray vision, or he just wants the attackers to be Black,” he said.
Groups supporting crime victims are speaking out against the 16-second spot as well, with the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation calling the ad “shameful.”
“Victims of crime should never be used as political pawns. Their stories should only be told by them or in ways they’ve specifically authorized,” the group said in a statement posted to social media.
A number of NBC 5 viewers expressed complaints about the advertisement, and the station has now pulled the ad from its airwaves.