A Tennessee newspaper is investigating how a “horrific” full-page, paid advertisement from a religious group that predicts a nuclear terror attack in Nashville next month ended up being published on Sunday.
In the ad that appeared in The Tennessean, a Gannett-owned newspaper in Nashville, the group Future For America claims President Trump “is the final president of the USA.”
It begins by claiming that a nuclear device will be detonated in the city and that the attack will be carried out by unspecific interests of “Islam.”
Future For America also ran an ad in Wednesday’s editions of the paper stating its intention to warn Nashville residents about the cataclysmic event “so that they may be able to make a decision intelligently.”
In a non-bylined article Sunday, The Tennessean described the religious group as “fringe,” saying its ad was immediately pulled and that an investigation has been launched.
“Two ads ran this week in the Tennessean that clearly violate our advertising standards,” Kevin Gentzel, president of marketing solutions and chief revenue officer for Gannett, said in a tweet.
“We strongly condemn the message and apologize to our readers. We are immediately investigating to determine how this could have happened,” he added.
The paper’s local sales chief also issued an apology.
“The advertisement that was placed within the Tennessean is not what we condone or stand for within our advertising department guidelines and procedures,” Ryan Kedzierski said, The Tennessean reported.
“This advertisement should not have been published within The Tennessean and we are sincerely sorry that this mistake took place. We are extremely apologetic to the community that the advertisement was able to get through and we are reviewing internally why and how this occurred and we will be taking actions immediately to correct,” he continued.
“No words or actions can describe how sorry we are to the community for the advertisements that were published. We will be utilizing the advertising dollars that went toward the full-page ad placements and donating those funds to the American Muslim Advisory Council.”
Michael Anastasi, the paper’s vice president and editor, said earlier Sunday that “clearly there was a breakdown in the normal processes, which call for careful scrutiny of our advertising content.”
Noting that that news and sales divisions operate independently, Anastasi added: “The ad is horrific and is utterly indefensible in all circumstances. It is wrong, period, and should have never been published.
“It has hurt members of our community and our own employees and that saddens me beyond belief. It is inconsistent with everything The Tennessean as an institution stands and has stood for and with the journalism we have produced,” he said.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on Islamic-American Relations, said in a statement that while the group appreciates that the “Islamophobic” ad was pulled and a probe has been launched, “we would urge The Tennessean to also implement updated policies and staff training to ensure that this type of hate incident does not occur in the future. CAIR is willing to offer that training.”
It was not immediately known how much the group paid for the ads.
According to its website, the group’s ministry warns of so-called end-of-the-world Bible prophecies whose fulfillment “is no longer future for it is taking place before our eyes.”
A message left by The Associated Press with the Arkansas-based Future for America wasn’t immediately returned.
With Post wires