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County leader regrets renaming street for Guns N' Roses

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A county commissioner in Las Vegas says she regrets the board temporarily renamed a street in honour of Guns N’ Roses after finding out about the band’s suggestive publicity artwork.

Ads promoting the band’s four-week run at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino depict a disheveled woman who appears to be sexually assaulted beneath the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

“I hadn’t seen the advertising before the media event,” Commissioner Mary Beth Scow told the Las Vegas Sun (http://bitly.com/SfIEKp ). “It’s clearly inappropriate. Maybe it’s the risk of doing business with a rock band, but I guess we’ll have some remorse over this decision. It’s a lesson learned.”

Scow represented Clark County at a ceremony Monday that renamed Paradise Road to Paradise City Road, after the band’s famous 1987 song. The county prepared street signs with the new name, on a promise that the band’s promoters would reimburse the $300 cost of doing so.

Scow said she’d done her due diligence before the renaming, even listening to the song beforehand. She said she liked the line in the chorus, “Take me down to the paradise city, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty.”

But she later learned about the graphic posters, which are a sanitized version of the much-criticized cover from Guns N’ Roses’ debut album “Appetite for Destruction.” The original artwork featured an apparently unconscious woman with a breast exposed and underwear pulled below her knees. A robot stands by, and a monstrous flying creature descends on the scene as if to avenge her.

It was such a controversial image when it debuted that producers ultimately put the art on the inside sleeve and used an image of skulls and a crucifix on the cover.

The versions plastered on the sides of buses and on taxicabs in Las Vegas for the residency, which begins Wednesday, have the breast covered and don’t show the underwear, although the more risque version is still on the band’s website.

An advocate for domestic violence victims said the county should rescind the street name change, and the band and venue should apologize for using the image.

“It functions as a mechanism to normalize violence against women, and that’s not OK,” Lisa Lynn Chapman, spokeswoman for women’s shelter Safe Nest, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal (http://bit.ly/UfZYOo ).

She also said the image could re-traumatize victims of sexual violence.

“When we start looking at pictures objectifying women, we say, ‘OK, this is Vegas.’ This is beyond the pale, even for Vegas,” she said. “This is something that shouldn’t be celebrated in any community.”

Representatives for the band did not immediately return calls seeking comment Wednesday morning.