Some felt it sent the wrong message.

The owners of Spicer Greene Jewelers in Asheville, NC, were trying to be playful with their new billboard, but some local residents found it offensive, the Asheville Citizen-Times reports.

The advertisement featured the words "Sometimes, it's ok to throw rocks at girls..." surrounded by various gemstones. Within a couple of days after the billboard went up, controversy was starting to build, both online and offline.

One post in a popular local Facebook group read, in part: "Not cool. Normalizing and finding humor in the, 'He hit you because he likes you' mentality that we feed to children is not ok. Small steps like this lead to a culture of violence against women."

On Thursday, the store posted an apology on Facebook. It read:

"To whom we have offended with our recent billboard, please accept our apologies. We do not condone violence of any kind toward any being. We are humble enough to realize when we make a mistake and humble enough to realize the context in which we are speaking. We did not intend to cause controversy and our billboard communicated something we did not intend. We intended the billboard as a play on words to encourage the loving act of gift giving and are deeply saddened that it offended anyone."

Store co-owner Eva-Michelle Spicer said the business is thinking about taking the billboard down, the Citizen-Times reports. It normally changes out the advertisements once a month.

But not everyone disliked the billboard. Sherry Buchko wrote on Facebook that she thought it was "great marketing" and that people should "stop being so d--n offended by everything."

Read more at Citizen-Times

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