June 6, 2014 4:25 PM, EDT
Maxim Apologizes for Ad That Riled Trucking Industry

Maxim magazine has apologized for publishing an advertisement in its June issue that many in the trucking industry found offensive.

In a statement published on its Website, Maxim said the ad has been removed from its digital editions and replaced with facts about truckers and the trucking industry.

The ad, for a personal injury law firm looking to defend accident victims, was illustrated using the front of a big rig in a menacing-looking fashion beneath large headline type reading “serial killer.”

A mini-firestorm erupted on social media, capped by the American Trucking Associations and Truckload Carriers Association issuing calls on June 5 for Maxim to apologize, and launching a social media campaign directed at Maxim using the hashtag #NotASerialKiller.

ATA president and CEO Bill Graves said in a letter to Maxim, "Every fatality on our nation’s highways is a tragedy, and we all have an obligation to improve highway safety, but our professionals that serve America are certainly not serial killers."

TCA says Gretchen Tibbits, vice president at Maxim, told the organization that in addition to the apology and the ad removal from its digital edition, it would provide space for a free pro-trucking ad in an upcoming issue.

Maxim’s statement said the ad “does not reflect the beliefs or opinions of the people at this magazine,” and it wants to “show steadfast support for the very industry that carries our magazine to newsstands and readers around the world.”

The law firm behind the ad, Villarreal & Belgum, also issued an apology, saying "it was never the intent ... to disparage the hard-working Americans that drive tractor-trailers for a living." It added it would no longer use that ad.