Tourism Northern Ontario pulled a promotional article from one of its websites this week after its emphasis on the beauty of two female spokespeople, both models and outdoor sports enthusiasts, was deemed inappropriate.
Leticia Cline, an American model and amateur motocross rider, visited Parry Sound last week as part of an outdoor adventure tourism campaign promoting the area that included a professional Canadian motocross racer, Ami Houde.
As part of the campaign, Northern Ontario Travel published an article about the women and their visit entitled "Beauty, Brains and Livin' on the Edge." The piece described the women as a "two breathtaking beauties" and a "double dose of intoxication."
"Ami is fearless," the story says of Houde, "through broken bones, disappointments and a lot of hard work, she maintains her focus... and looks lovely doing it!"
Shortly after the website administrated by the government agency published the post, it pulled it down and replaced it with another story that didn't mention the women's attractiveness.
The chair of Tourism Northern Ontario, Paul Pepe, told the Toronto Star that the way the original piece was written wasn't appropriate, and that's why it was replaced.
However, another aspect of the Star's coverage has angered Cline and Houde, who have complained on the newspaper's website and responded on social media.
"The Ontario government's tourism marketing agency paid for a Playboy model to help promote travel in the Parry Sound region as part of a provocatively framed publicity campaign," reads the first line.
In a comment on the page, Ami Houde wrote the story makes her "sick."
Cline responded in a post to her Facebook page.
"I'm amazed that because I was in Playboy 7 years ago that the Government would have an issue that I wanted to come up and ride," Cline wrote in a post urging her fans to tell the Toronto Star their thoughts on the story.
Cline also posted a lengthy response to the Star article on her Facebook page criticizing Canadian media, but she added that she plans to look into Canadian citizenship.
The president and CEO of the Ontario Tourism Marketing and Promotion Corporation, Ronald Holgerson, told the Toronto Star that Cline was asked to visit Parry Sound because she's interested in motorsports and she has many followers on social media, not because of her work as a model.
However, Holgerson said the corporation planned to vet every participant for future tourism campaigns.
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