New York, NY, December 12, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised Microsoft Corp. for its detection and removal of two Nazi symbols inadvertently included in Microsoft Office System applications. Immediately after identifying the problem, Microsoft apologized for the oversight and assured ADL that the company is taking actions to remove the offensive symbols, including making available to Microsoft users a utility that will remove the images from versions of the product that have already been sold to consumers.
"We welcome Microsoft's efforts deal with this issue in a forthright and responsible manner," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Once the problem had been identified, Microsoft notified us immediately and apologized. We appreciate their sensitivity to our concern about the potentially offensive nature of Nazi symbols. We are working closely with Microsoft to resolve this issue and to ensure that the public is not misinformed about this mistake, which was unintentional on the part of the company."
In a letter to ADL, Microsoft notified the League of the presence of two Nazi symbols in the Bookshelf 7 Font in new Microsoft Office System applications, indicating that their inclusion was inadvertent. "We regret the inclusion of these symbols in the product and want to apologize for any offense this action may have caused," the company said.
Microsoft plans to take a series of steps to remedy the problem, including the release this week of a downloadable utility to remove the symbols from the font, and the release of a patch to the product in January that will remove the offensive symbols. The company is also planning to re-release the affected Office System products with a revised font that does not include the symbols.
ADL has previously worked with Microsoft to dispel myths about the Windows operating system, including unfounded speculation, dating to 1992, that the Wingdings character font contains hidden anti-Semitic messages and codes.