A tone-deaf billboard touting a Las Vegas thrill ride could have unintended consequences given its chilling 9/11 connection.
The new billboard for the roller coaster at New York-New York uses what was once an innocuous phrase, but which on 9/11 became associated with the worst terror attack in American history.
The phrase, “Let’s roll.”
Use of “Let’s roll” in an advertisement wouldn’t be as problematic were it not for the fact 9/11 is so closely associated with New York City, the theme of the New York-New York resort.
Following the events of September 11, 2001, New York-New York was even home to an impromptu memorial, a “spontaneous shrine,” to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. The memorial was outside the hotel, near its replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Items from the memorial were moved to UNLV’s Lied Library in 2016.
“Let’s roll,” of course, became inexorably intertwined with 9/11 when United Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer said it to rally other passengers as they attempted to wrest control of the hijacked plane back from terrorists. The plan ended tragically, but the phrase became a symbol of defiance, bravery and patriotism.
The use of “Let’s roll” on a billboard associated with New York-New York is unfortunate, and it’s hard to believe no one who created or produced the ad made the connection to 9/11, or if they did, chose to use the tagline, anyway.
For those who still remember 9/11 vividly, or lost loved ones in the attacks, it’s more than a gaff, it’s a slap.
Update (5/5/17): MGM Resorts and New York-New York have taken the extraordinary step of saying they’ll remove the offending billboard (at no small expense, by the way). The company said in response to this story, “We intended no connection between the tragic events of 9/11 and our billboard. Any perceived association between the two is something we deeply regret. We are already voluntarily removing the billboard in question and apologize to anyone who may have been offended.”
Much respect and thanks to MGM Resorts and New York-New York for their quick and decisive response to the concerns raised by this inadvertent misstep.