Alberta oilfield company bedeviled by billboard complaints

An Alberta oilfield services company has been bedeviled by complaints about a billboard some have called misogynistic, or worse.

'It has nothing to do with women and violence,' says company owner

This billboard has attracted plenty of attention for an Alberta oilfield services company. (Supplied)

An Alberta oilfield services company has been bedeviled by complaints about a billboard some have called misogynistic, or worse.

The billboard shows the painted image of a mostly naked woman with a machine called a piledriver above her, drilling into the ground.

The message is: "We drill them to hell and back."

The billboard stands beside a highway near Killam, Alta., the headquarters of BeDevil oilfield services.

The sign got some negative attention on social media this week.

One Facebook poster, Faye Hamilton, thinks the billboard sends the wrong message about violence against women.

Georgina Lawrence called the sign misogynistic and said the company should be ashamed. She wants it taken down.

Another woman, upset by the advertisement, said she planned to call the company.

When asked for comment on the billboard by CBC News, Shannon Phillips, minister responsible for the status of women, issued a statement.

"Any images that display violence against women, sexual or otherwise, are unacceptable," she said. 

Company owner Dan McRae said he has had a few complaints. Someone even called the RCMP about the billboard.

But McRae said police told him the billboard doesn't break any laws.

He can't understand why people are so upset.

"It has nothing to do with women and violence," McRae said. "I would stick up for any woman anytime in a situation like that. We do not believe in that. There is more nudity on a Victoria Secret catalog than you'll ever find on mine. And they don't knock them down."

According to the BeDevil website, the family owned company has been operating since 1996 and offers "red-hot" oilfield services across Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

McRae said he has no plans to take the billboard down, or change it.

It's getting plenty of attention, he said, at a time when oilfield companies need all the work they can get.

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