Pat McCrory’s birthday present: A full-page insult in a Raleigh newspaper

Kristen Burgess | Contributing Writer

Where most people expect to wake up to presents on their birthday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory woke up to an insulting advertisement instead. The display was placed in a full-page spread out of the Raleigh News & Observer the morning of his birthday.  

The advertisement had only one image: a slice of birthday cake, complete with the rainbow colors that represent the LGBTQ community. On the image were printed the words “HB2 U, Pat,” a play on the abbreviation for House Bill 2, which was an extremely controversial LGBTQ bill put into law by Gov. McCrory.  

Writers for a Progressive North Carolina, a group composed of members of the state’s literary community, published this advertisement with the help of the company BooneOakley. Taking a fresh philosophy on business, the agency acted as the perfect candidate to represent the message of the writers group.  

BooneOakley has one rule: Craft great work for people we like,” their mission statement reads. We don’t see our clients as clients. We see them as partners. And they see us as part of their internal marketing team. Collaborative relationships are fun. And when you’re having fun, great ideas happen. After all, we are all working toward the same goal. Innovative work and incredible results.”  

Bestselling writer John Grisham and musician James Taylor worked together with the writers’ group and BooneOakley to help finance the advertisement.  

The North Carolina governor responded to the writers’ message through the rollout of a new campaign advertisement two days after the “HB2 U, Pat” spread released.  

“Are we really talking about this?” the governor says in one of his commercials. Does the desire to be politically correct outweigh our children’s privacy and safety? Not on my watch. Our kids and teachers are my priority. This is North Carolina. Let’s do what’s right.” 

Visitors to the writers’ group website will be taken to their home page which features this advertisement. Viewers can also see a proclamation that was made in March earlier this year by “A Gathering of North Carolina Writers.”  

“North Carolina must have a new governor and a new government, one line of the document reads. Their proclamation not only criticizes the governor’s involvement with House Bill 2, but it also comments on his work in public education and health care, stating “We need a governor and a government that will see our people insured for health care to the greatest extent possible.  

The controversial ad was placed in the newspaper for readers to see it in time for the election. Voters will head to the polls on Nov. 8 to vote between the two candidates for the governor of North Carolina, current governor Pat McCrory (R) and Attorney General Roy Cooper (D)