A campaign from clothier the United
Colors of Benetton has caused controversy for manipulating images of
world leaders kissing, including President Barack Obama locking lips
with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
Benetton's Unhate campaign also
includes manipulated images of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu
smooching Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and
Pope Benedict XVI kissing Ahmed el Tyyeb, imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque
“We want to reaffirm the value of the
brand. We are going back to the tradition of [Benetton] and will
make the most of this,” Benetton CEO Alessandro Benetton told The
Independent. “At this time, when something bad is happening in
the world, we want to focus people's eyes on the positives. This
campaign is about reconciliation and acceptance.” (An Unhate
campaign promotional video is embedded in the right panel of this
our video library for more videos.)
While the campaign also includes French
President Nicolas Sarkozy smooching German Chancellor Angela Merkel,
one critic suggested the campaign's message was that gay sex leads to
“The only psychological
interpretation of such ads that makes sense to me as a psychiatrist
is that the corporate leaders at Benetton literally believe that
homosexual sex between world leaders – or at least homosexuality as
an orientation – would lead to world peace,” wrote Dr.
Keith Ablow in an op-ed published on Fox News.
“In the collective mind of Benetton,
if religious leaders and political figures would just have sex with
one another all would be well,” he added.
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