home
RSS
Benetton pulls ad featuring doctored photo of pope kissing imam
A Benetton ad in Paris featuring a doctored photo of the pope kissing a prominent imam.
November 16th, 2011
04:27 PM ET

Benetton pulls ad featuring doctored photo of pope kissing imam

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - United Colors of Benetton announced Wednesday it is pulling an ad featuring a doctored picture of the pope kissing a male Muslim cleric on the same day the ad was unveiled in response to criticism.

The ad featured a fake picture of Pope Benedict XVI kissing Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, imam of the Al-Azhar mosque, a prominent Muslim house of worship in Cairo, Egypt.

"We reiterate that the meaning of this campaign is exclusively to combat the culture of hatred in all its forms," Benetton said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We are therefore sorry that the use of the image of the pope and the imam has so offended the sentiments of the faithful,” the statement by the fashion apparel company continued. “In corroboration of our intentions, we have decided, with immediate effect, to withdraw this image from every publication."

The ad was part of a campaign United Colors of Benetton unveiled Wednesday that features doctored photos of world leaders kissing each other and that aims to combat what the Italian-based company called a “culture of hatred.”

The series features fake photos of U.S. President Barack Obama kissing Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kissing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, among other pairings.

The ads are appearing in print and online media around the world.

“The central theme is the kiss, the most universal symbol of love, between world political and religious leaders,” Benetton said in a Wednesday press release.

“These are symbolic images of reconciliation - with a touch of ironic hope and constructive provocation - to stimulate reflection on how politics, faith and ideas, even when they are divergent and mutually opposed, must still lead to dialogue and mediation.”

Benetton says the ad campaign accompanies the creation of a new organization called the UNHATE foundation.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Islam

soundoff (1,035 Responses)
  1. Cheyla

    As usual just cry "offends religion," and businesses, governments, and people will bow down and do whatever the religion dictates. However, it is fitting that unhate would not apply to churches as they are all about hate – lol!

    November 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Dano

      You could argue the same thing for crying "offends the non-religious." Heck, it seems like you can't even say "Christmas" in a public setting anymore without getting ten lawsuits shoved down your throat and four more up your nose. I think the key word is "offends." I would argue that America, as a society, is too easily offended, regardless of race, religion, or creed.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Stop offending me Dano.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  2. Michael Lee

    Personally, I'd have rather more respect for both of these religious heads if the photograph was genuine.

    November 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  3. HotAirAce

    So Benetton has a series of these photos (easily found on the web) with several other very recognizable persons and it's fucking Pope-A-Dope that gets all up tight about it. The vatican should have issued a press release something like "We pray for the day when these people usually portrayed as enemies can come together in peace."

    November 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  4. HotAirAce

    So Benetton has a series of these photos (easily found on the web) with several other very recognizable persons and it's fucking Pope-A-Dope that gets all up tight about it. The vatican should have issued a press release something like "We pray for the day when these people usually portrayed as enemies can come together in peace."

    November 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  5. gerome

    They got exactly what they wanted. Swift reaction from the world to get everyone talking about them again. United colors of beneton my ass...they prolly going bankrupt

    November 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      You are probably right about that.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  6. amor cabarles

    this is disrespect for both religious beliefs. may god forgive those people who created this.

    November 16, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      fuk Christians, fuk Jesus, fuk muslims and Islam, fuk Mofukhead and fuk God. They get what the deserve. Disrespect.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Preachy

      Dear Passive Agressive,

      I believe your statement was not passive Agressive. I believe it would be considered Agressive, bordering on the insane.

      Sincerely,

      Preachy

      November 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Dano

      Agreed, Preachy. Thank you.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      What is insane about it? What is more insane about what I said that religion? Are you offended my words?

      November 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      *by my words"

      November 16, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Preachy

      PA,

      I could never be offended by your words sweetie. You can't spell. Your sentence structure is poor at best. And seriously, if you need to curse to get your point across...you have none.

      Peachy Keen

      November 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Dano, Preachy....what offends you, my language or my message? Religion is fiction. Lies. Abuse. Destruction. There is no God. There were and are no prophets. Prove I am wrong, don't just call me out. Waiting for your knowledge....

      November 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Preachy, in other words, you have nothing. At least tell me your belief system. Are you a Christian, are you a Muslim, are you an Alien? Why the cop out? I am preparted to engage you in religious debate but all you can do is complain about my spelling? Okey dokey then. For my part, I am a "weak" or what is referred to as a "Temporal Agnostic" (you can look it up sweety). Why do you fear words? Words can't harm they are only X's and O's on a computer and vibrations coming from one's mouth. Who is insane?

      November 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Preachy

      PA,

      Not being a religious scholar myself, nor being raised with religion at all, I could never "prove" it to you. I choose not to bash things I don't understand or the people who believe the. That would be way to much hate on my plate deary.

      P

      November 16, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Preachy,
      1. You just bashed me for my spelling and sentence structure, yet you made two obvious errors in your reply. 2. Prove what? You did not finish your thought. Error 3. Finally Deary, if you have nothing to say, why say anything?

      November 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Preachy

      My heart goes out to you PA. Hate and anger ruin lives. Embrace love, kindness and understanding and it will touch your heart. Work in 6...our time was lovely...may we meet up again. Take care and good night sweets.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Preachy, parting shot....although I would love to talk to you if you wouldn't dissappear like that....If you are completely uneducated about religion, why are you commenting on the Belief Blog? I don't understand.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Oh there you are, why do you think I am angry? I am not angry. Happy as a clam! Because I say fuk, that makes me angry? Grow up sweety, that is how the men folk talk sometimes.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Oh, and I am an agnostic BECAUSE I embrace love, kindness and understanding. Unlike religions. Sweety.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Preachy

      Two things...I like to read belief blogs to read about belief and try to understand it...which I admittedly do not. I don't have that kind of trust in my life. And two...slow Internet does not disappearing mean.

      Just saw your post...I guess I'm just a prudish female who does not cotton to cursing...to each there own. Most people I know who curse like you do tend to be very angry people. If you are not, I apologize. Take care and keep an open mind for those who are different than you...it can be a struggle, but sometimes a struggle is worthwhile. I've enjoyed our chat emensly.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Passive Aggressive

      I knew I liked you Preachy. Come back and let's talk some more. I am just a goof ball truth be told. But I do know my way around religion for what it is worth.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Passive Aggressive

      And Preachy, (sorry I keep re-posting like this) but you are a breath of fresh air. When I say I like you I am quite sincere. The very fact that you come on these blogs to learn.....well I am not sure if you will learn anything....but I like that. At least you will see the atheists and the theists constantly bickering with one another. It is really kind of silly but some of us enjoy it from time to time. I never use "bad" language in real life. I am a happily married man and father of two wonderful children. When you are on the blogs you can kind of air things out. I think that is a given for most of us. Kind of fun to have anonymity. Don't know if that is right or wrong, but it is what it is. Hope to chat with you soon and please be a regular.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • Answer

      Preachy..

      "emensly." is spelled like this "immensely".

      November 17, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  7. Bene-toon FAIL

    Creativity, inventiveness, wit, and a little bit of genius is obviously the denoted characteristic of this campaign.
    But rarely anyone stops and asks what its connotative level suggests: it's all about the money (even if you dismiss and disrespect entire religious communities). Even bad publicity is good publicity for the company, forget about "love", "UNHATE", "sorry...", what they want is to be in vogue and to be the center of a conversation. This is the ultimate marketing strategy, let alone the fact that they preach "unhate" but in their ads that's all they cause.
    Benetton is well known for their controversial ads, it is up to us to be more critical and reject advertisers' attempt to get us to buy their product using these strategies.
    Doesn't seem so cool once you know you are being thought of as a mindless consumer doesn't it? ...

    November 16, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      I think they just went "all in". Have you seen their stocks?

      November 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  8. blaqb0x

    Doctored Photo? Obviously. Now if the imam was 40 years younger, that would be much more believable.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  9. jon

    i think something should and must be done with all these kind of non-sense, idiotic ideas...the world is getting worst by the day....somebody has to stand up and straighten things up...and now is the time...

    November 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Hey jon, I hear you brother. You get right on those worst by the day things. The priests have the stand up and straighten things up deal covered.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  10. COUNTRYCOOK

    I thought Muslims kill gay.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      I thought Lysol kills germ

      November 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  11. nogirlzone

    beware, if you grow up not knowing girls, you would know guys

    November 16, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Yes, no doubt. And also beware, if you grow up not knowing dogs, you will know cats.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  12. COUNTRYCOOK

    Oh my, the pope is gay !

    November 16, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  13. HITLER THE GREATEST THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN

    Awww!Sweet! I Loved Both of those guys back in my Holocaust Days

    November 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • HITLER THE GREATEST THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN

      So basically Ii want a three way

      November 16, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  14. phenomeno

    ohh...is the new Benetton slogan "Go Gay"?

    November 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • Answer

      Your slogan is obvious: "Go religion."

      Bias fool.

      November 17, 2011 at 12:34 am |
  15. Xaltarboy

    Yuk! Who would want to kiss the Nazi Pope??

    November 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  16. PERSONAL

    WAOH

    November 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  17. PeteN

    There is nothing better than a controversial campaign. Benetton’s clothes suck so much that nobody pays any attention to them anymore. Another good reason to avoid that stupid chain.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      HE'S GOING TO BE THE SAVIOR OF JORDACHE JEANS. DON'T UNDERESTIMATE HIS GOD-LIKE POWERS.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • PeteN

      Garbage is your capital letter mumbling.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Bene-toon FAIL

      Completely agree with you .... another stupid marketing strategy to create controversy

      November 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Outstanding marketing strategy. 521 comments alone on this blog proves the point.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      PETE, I'M NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT POINT IT IS YOU'RE TRYING TO MAKE. YOUR SENTENCE IS BROKEN. I'M SURE SOME IDIOT WILL CHIME IN AND SAY MY CAPS LOCK OR SHIFT KEY IS BROKEN. I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS SCHOLARLY ATTEMPT AT POINTING OUT THAT MY WORDS ARE IN CAPS.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Bible: YOUR CAPS LOCK OR SHIFT KEY IS BROKEN AND YOUR WORDS ARE IN CAPS.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  18. HotAirAce

    I like it a lot! Too bad they crumbled under pressure. It seems to have caused the conversation they intended and highlights how narrow minded those who complained are. Time to go buy something from Benneton because they put the ad out.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      THIS ISN'T THE ONLY AD HE'S DONE LIKE THIS. THERE'S ANOTHER OF OBAMA KISSING ANOTHER DUDE.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      From the article above:

      "The series features fake photos of U.S. President Barack Obama kissing Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kissing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, among other pairings."

      November 16, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      I SUPPOSE I SHOULD HAVE READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE BEFORE STATING THE OBVIOUS.

      November 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      GARBAGE I SUPPOSE YOU SHOULD TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      NO STICKY SOCKS. I'LL LEAVE IT ON. YOU CAN CONTINUE CRYING ALL YOU'D LIKE. BE SURE TO STOCK UP ON KLEENEX.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  19. LOL

    reminds me of Kennedy Kruschev (SP) kissing posters. This is a bennington rip off

    November 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      I can't find an example of that. Is that true, do you have a link? Sorry me dum dum.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  20. Slash

    Should have had the pope kissing a child. That would be more accurate.

    Funny how Penn State gets insane attention but the Catholic Church's decades-long (though likely much longer) abuse of children and subsequent massive coverups are considered small-time news.

    November 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.