Amazon pulls Man in the High Castle subway ads after Nazi imagery controversy

25 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Nazi’ subway train sparks furor among N.Y.C. riders.

The advertisements are intended to promote the Amazon TV Series “The Man in the High Castle,” in an alternate reality series in which the Axis powers were victorious in World War II. “The updated standards prohibit political advertisements. Amazon is asking New York’s public transit system to remove a set of ads that plastered Nazi and Imperial Japanese imagery across subway cars after the promotion sparked a loud backlash, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to Mashable.

Amid growing outrage, Amazon has decided to pull a controversial ad campaign featuring subway seats covered in Nazi-inspired flags, the MTA said Tuesday.NEW YORK — Although Amazon’s newest thriller may not be getting much acclaim from critics, its advertising campaign has sure created a furor in New York City, reports say. The decision to take down the ads comes after several elected officials on Tuesday denounced the campaign, which forced straphangers on the 42nd Street shuttle train to sit on seats emblazoned with insignia from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

The ads drew complaints from subway riders, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, whose New York regional director said criticized the campaign for not providing enough context for why the Nazi insignias were shown. But the ads — the shuttle’s interior is decked out with the German Iron Eagle and the Japanese Rising Sun signs against the American red, white and blue — proved instantly offensive. “We have no grounds to reject them,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said. “MTA is a government agency and can’t accept or reject ads based on how we feel about them; we have to follow the standards approved by our board.” “While we are all used to bad decisions by the MTA, this goes beyond anything we have come to expect from them,” Dinowitz said in a statement. “The MTA could have allowed this show to be advertised without using such offensive insignias.” The Anti-Defamation League’s New York director, Evan Bernstein, said the insensitive ads include imagery without the context that comes with watching the television show. “On the train, seeing the American flag paired with a Nazi symbol is viscerally offensive, because there is no context as to what it means,” Bernstein said. “This ad campaign has a feel of exploiting things that are so sensitive to so many people.” The MTA declined to say how much Amazon paid for the ads. Subway riders were puzzled and offended by Amazon’s choice to so flagrantly showcase the insignia of regimes that conspired to kill millions less than a century ago.

The MTA recently banned all political advertising, but Lisberg said, “This advertising, whether you find it distasteful or not, obviously they’re not advertising Nazism; they’re advertising a TV show.” “The MTA has certainly demonstrated in the past that there are certain ads they just will not run, and while this is not a political ad, it’s certainly an ad that’s in very bad taste,” Dinowitz said. “The symbols that are part of this ad are offensive, not only to Jewish people, but to all people.” The MTA defended its decision to run the ads, maintaining that they fell within the bounds of advertising standards that preclude ads with a “political viewpoint” unless the advertiser’s name is clearly visible. Much of the Nazi imagery had to be added using visual effects: a rocket that appears in the pilot was initially going to be a dressed-up Boeing jet, but the company refused to allow production to paint a swastika on it. When they were allowed to paint an offensive symbol, they did it as late as possible in production so it wouldn’t have to appear for too long on set. “Being effectively unable to put up any swastika flags, we were able to have small things on license plates and on armbands but we didn’t put them on until right before the cameras would roll, out of respect and good manners,” Boughton said at the time. “So that was a big part of the reality of making a show like this, is that you can’t really dress the set until right before the camera rolls. “No one wants to see a swastika in the first place, because it’s an upsetting image that’s profoundly disturbing and brings up profoundly disturbing feelings in everybody,” he continued. “Doing a television show that relies on showing it a lot all the time is an enormously complicated thing, publicity and public relations-wise. …It’s unlike any job I’ve ever done before, where the very basic concept of the show is deeply offensive.

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