On March 3, in an ad in the New York Times, the New York Health & Racquet Club offended Christians, drawing a letter of protest from the Catholic League. The ad, placed during Lent, said “Rise from the Dead” and offered the following statement alongside the headline: “A New York City day can leave you for dead. Luckily resurrections are available hourly from one of our certified massage therapists.” The ad showed a picture of someone getting a massage.
In a letter to the president of the New York Health & Racquet Club, William Donohue complained that the ad was doubly offensive because “a) it makes light of a very serious event that is particularly important to Catholics and b) it removes all doubt as to what is being caricatured.” Donohue concluded by saying, “By all means advertise your services, but please don’t do so at our expense.”
In a letter of reply, Samuel Russell wrote the following: “As the Director of Advertising for the New York Health & Racquet Club, please accept my apologies if this advertisement has offended you, or any of your members in anyway, we certainly did not intend to cause offense and will not continue to run this ad in the future.”