EasyJet Pulls Holocaust Fashion Spread

EasyJet landed itself in hot water this week by publishing and circulating a fashion feature shot in front of the Holocaust museum. The eight-page story is in the November issue of the EasyJet in-flight magazine, and features models posing at the museum in Berlin, leaning up against the pillars at the Holocaust memorial. It was intended to encourage people to visit the museum, but instead has ended up a PR fiasco for the discount airliner. Duh.

The agency who was in charge of the shoot apparently had permission to shoot outside the museum, but not at the actual memorial — a field of 2,700 concrete pillars in the middle of the city. Uwe Neumärer, a spokesman for the Foundation for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, said: “We only give permission to projects that have a connection to the memorial, the Holocaust or some aspect of commemoration.” After several complaints from Jewish organizations in Europe, as well as dozens of passengers (particularly those en route to Tel Aviv), the airline has pulled all 300,000 magazines and sent out many mea culpas. “We realised that to hold a fashion shoot in front of the memorial was inappropriate and insensitive, and we didn’t wish to offend anyone. It’s not quite clear why we didn’t spot it earlier,” said Samantha Day, an EasyJet spokeswoman. In addition, the text accompanying the photo shoot was also considered flippant: “Ravaged by war and torn in two by conflicting ideologies, Berlin may not be a picture-perfect jewel … but it’s a treasure trove for the culture vulture … no visit would be complete without exploring the testaments to the city’s turbulent past, such as … the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust memorial.” As one person responding to the issue on the German news website thelocal.de wrote: “What next? A tourism photo shoot in Auschwitz?”

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