The brand removed the picture and stated that the advertisement was shot in August.
Marks and Spencer, a UK-based retail brand, has apologised after coming under fire for allegedly sharing an Instagram picture of Christmas party hats burning in the colours of the Palestinian flag, as per a report in BBC. The image, taken from one of the brand's advertisements, showed red, green and silver hats burning in a fireplace that was compared to a Palestinian flag.
The brand took down the picture and stated that the advertisement was shot in August, prior to the start of the Israel-Gaza war. They stated that they intended to "playfully show that some people don't enjoy wearing paper Christmas hats".
Marks and Spencer took to X, formerly Twitter, and posted a statement. They said, "Today we shared an outtake image from our Christmas clothing and home advert, which was recorded in August before the conflict broke out between Israel and Hamas. It showed traditional, festive coloured red, green and silver Christmas paper party hats in a fire grate."
"While the intent was to playfully show that some people just don't enjoy wearing paper Christmas hats over the festive season, we have removed the post following feedback and we apologise for any unintentional hurt caused," they concluded.
The picture was an outtake from the company's Christmas advertisement, which promotes doing away with holiday customs that people no longer find meaningful. Several social media users criticised the brand for the resemblance in colours and labelled it as "distasteful".
"Absolutely disgusting. Even if it was recorded in August you should have reshot this image or used technology to make changes. Shame on you!!!"
"How come you have that much hate to deliver disguised as 'Christmas celebration'?" said another person.
Another added, "Your 2023 Christmas advert is not good, I don't know who came up with that concept but I think you should ask for a refund."
"Your ads seem to focus on destruction of old tradition rather than the embrace of new traditions," said a person.
"The ad was crap and anti-Christmas regardless of the colour of the paper hats," added another user.