ADL Welcomes Apology from Wal-Mart, Citizens Group Over Use of Nazi Imagery In Political Ad
Phoenix, AZ, May 16, 2005 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the apologies of Wal-Mart and a Flagstaff, Arizona citizens' group over their use of Nazi imagery in political ads urging voters to reject a proposed retail ordinance.
"We welcome the prompt apologies by Wal-Mart and the Protect Flagstaff's Future committee," said Bill Straus, ADL Arizona Regional Director. "Both Wal-Mart and members of the committee recognized immediately that the use of Nazi imagery as part of this campaign was inappropriate and insensitive, particularly for Holocaust survivors and their families. We commend them for acting quickly and responsibly after learning of our concerns."
ADL contacted Wal-Mart after seeing the ad and receiving many complaints. Both Wal-Mart and Protect Flagstaff's Future apologized in letters to ADL for the offensive ad, and Wal-Mart ran an apology in the Arizona Daily Sun. "While we did not know of the photo's historical context until after the fact, there is still no excuse for associating this photo with the upcoming election on the proposed retail ordinance," wrote Jay Allen, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., in the company's apology to ADL.
"We feel strongly that our ads speak the truth but we regret the image we used offended some of those who have sacrificed so much," added the letter from Protect Flagstaff's Future Committee.
The full-page ad, which appeared on May 8 in Flagstaff’s Arizona Daily Sun, featured an archival photo of a book-burning in Nazi Germany under the words, “Freedoms Worth Keeping.” The ad campaign is sponsored by Protect Flagstaff’s Future, a group financed primarily by Wal-Mart.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.