Several top Florida tourism officials resigned or were fired Friday after a Youtube video promoting the state’s beaches came under fire for both sexism and wasteful spending.
“Sexy Beaches,” featuring the rapper Pitbull and several swimsuit-clad women frolicking in waves and hotels, drew more than 10.8 million viewers online.
But House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz slammed it as a “demeaning” example of “sexualization and degradation of women,” while Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran called the lyrics “reprehensible,” according to the Miami Herald.
Adding further controversy to the tourism campaign, Visit Florida refused to disclose how much it had paid Pitbull, calling the contract a “trade secret.” But on Thursday morning, Pitbull released all the details online, revealing that the tourism agency had paid him more than $1 million to promote Florida.
— Pitbull (@pitbull) December 15, 2016
Among other line items, Visit Florida had, without publicly disclosing it, paid Pitbull $250,000 for the use of his name and likeness, $250,000 for the controversial music video, and $300,000 to tweet about Florida at least twice a month under the hashtag #loveFL, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
This revelation was too much for Gov. Rick Scott, who called for Visit Florida’s CEO to step down over the shady Pitbull contract, also demanding the agency release more information about its other contracts and expenditures. Visit Florida also axed positions for its chief marketing officer and chief financial officer.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.