'Insensitive' Christmas vodka ad removed

By Jennifer Lipman, November 23, 2011
The advert has now been taken down

The advert has now been taken down

A Christmas shopping advert has been removed from the upper west side of Manhattan after allegations that it was antisemitic.

The billboard, for a vodka company, read: "Christmas quality, Hannukah pricing".

The image showed two dogs, one wearing a Santa hat and the other with a kippah on.

The Anti-Defamation League, a US hate monitor, said the advert was "crude and offensive".

In an email of complaint to the Wodka brand head office, posted on the gossip site Gawker, one person wrote: "Perhaps you are also aware of the antisemitic stereotype that Jewish people control the media.

"Following the lead of your billboard, I have put stock in this stereotype and have taken the liberty of cc'ing several media outlets and news writers on this email."

In the wake of the negative publicity, Wodka's media team announced via Twitter that the billboard would be removed. "Although rarely serious, we apologise to anyone we may have offended through our holiday campaign," they said.

"We thought people would perceive it as 'ha ha quirky,'" said its designer Brian Gordon.

Ron Meier, the regional director for the ADL, said he welcomed the company's swift response to the criticism. "We are glad that they were sensitive to our concerns and the concerns of the many New Yorkers who were offended by this advertisement. The billboard was offensive to many."

Last updated: 4:59pm, November 23 2011