Francis Slay v. Lewis Reed: Slavery Image on "Bootlicker" Film Flyer Sparks Controversy

click to enlarge "Slayvery" flyer. Big version below.
"Slayvery" flyer. Big version below.

The re-election campaign for Mayor Francis Slay is slamming a flyer for a local documentary called "Bootlicker," which depicts a black man down on his knees in front of Slay next to the word, "Slayvery."

With the primary election less than a month away, the battle for mayor has gotten very contentious -- with the issue of race at the center of some the debates as Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed looks to unseat the long-time mayor. Slay's campaign manager tells Daily RFT that this is the kind of offensive, divisive material that Reed's supporters continue to push -- while Team Reed reiterates that the candidate has absolutely nothing to do with the film or the flyer and says his opponent is getting desperate.

But what does the filmaker have to say about his controversial flyer?

First, here's the full image of the flyer, which is being passed around in advance of the February 20 screening of a film called "Bootlicker."

The flyer and the project is the brainchild of Terry Artis, the president and publisher of RiverCity Xaminer, an online black news organization in St. Louis. "Bootlicker" is RiverCity's first film.

Artis tells Daily RFT that the film -- which he wrote, edit, directed and produced -- explores racial tensions in the city, prompted by the controversial demotion of St. Louis Fire Chief Sherman George.

"The idea came from the politics of racial division that I saw really come to a head...when Chief Sherman George was demoted," Artis says. "Racial division exploded with that act."

Continue for more of our interview with Terry Artis and comments from the Slay and Reed campaigns.

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