Vatican protests Benetton ad showing pope kissing imam

VATICAN CITY Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:54am IST

People stroll in front of the Benetton store in downtown Rome November 16, 2011. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

People stroll in front of the Benetton store in downtown Rome November 16, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Stefano Rellandini

Related Video

Related Topics

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Wednesday protested to Italian clothing firm Benetton over its use of an image of Pope Benedict kissing an imam on the mouth in its latest shock advertising campaign.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi called the unauthorized and "manipulative" use of the pope's picture in the photo montage "totally unacceptable" and suggested it might take legal action against the company.

"This is a grave lack of respect for the pope, an offence against the sentiments of the faithful and a clear example of how advertising can violate elementary rules of respect for people in order to attract attention through provocation," he said in a statement.

A large banner with the image of the pope and the imam was hung from a bridge near the Vatican on Wednesday morning before it was removed.

Other photo montages in the same campaign, in which Benetton says it supports the Unhate Foundation, show other world leaders kissing each other on the mouth.

President Barack Obama is shown kissing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in one.

The Italian clothing company has run controversial advertising campaigns in the past, including one that showed grieving parents at the bedside of a man dying of AIDS.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella; editing by Andrew Roche)

FILED UNDER:

Celebrity

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Jolie Likes Directing

Jolie Likes Directing

Jolie says she likes directing - but is not through acting  Full Article 

Cobain Documentary

Cobain Documentary

Authorized documentary on Nirvana's Kurt Cobain to air on HBO  Full Article 

Gathering Of 'Elves'

Gathering Of 'Elves'

Santa's little helpers break world record in Bangkok  Full Article 

Latin American Auction

Latin American Auction

Mexican surrealists top Latin American auction, Botero sets record  Full Article 

Swedish Merlot

Swedish Merlot

Warmer world boosts Nordic tipples  Full Article 

Photo

Canada Sex Lawsuit

Canada radio host drops lawsuit against broadcaster in sex scandal case  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage