Marks & Spencer has capitulated to complaints about its 2023 Christmas advert from pro-Palestine protestors, which Tan France, who stars in the campaign, branded "ridiculous".
The high street retailer apologised for “any unintentional hurt caused” after an outtake from its new Christmas advert drew complaints from social media users angry that it showed burning paper crowns in festive colours, that also happen to feature on the Palestinian flag.
The advert, which was filmed in August this year, showed several Christmas cracker hats being tossed into a fire accompanied by the caption: "This Christmas, do what you love... like saying no to paper hats” and the hashtag #LoveThismasNotThatmas - the retailer’s slogan for this festive season.
The Christmas crowns were red, green and silver, colours commonly associated with the festive period. However, as the Palestinian flag comprises three horizontal stripes in black, white and green, and a red triangle, some social media users accused the retailer of acting insensitively.
M&S deleted the Instagram post and published a statement saying: "Today we shared an outtake image from our Christmas clothing and home advert, which was recorded in August.
The now-deleted post (Photo: Instagram)
"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."
Queer Eye star France, who appears in the advert alongside actor Hannah Waddingham branded the complaints "ridiculous" and also pointed out that filming took place in August.
Posting on his own Instagram account, France said: "The ad was shot in August so...maybe you're reaching with your ridiculous comments?"
M&S has been subject to anti-Israel boycotts for decades. Pro-Palestinian supporters of the BDS movement have encouraged activists to protest at the store's branches due to what they call "ideological and economic support" of Israel.
The retailer was founded in 1884 as a collaboration between Polish Jewish businessman Michael Marks and Yorkshire-born cashier Thomas Spencer.