Benetton Under Fire For Pope, Muslim Leader Kissing In ‘Unhate’ Campaign

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — It turns out there isn’t a whole lot of love for Benetton’s new “Unhate” campaign.

The Italian fashion label was forced to pull one of its latest ads featuring Pope Benedict XVI embracing and kissing leading Islamic figure Ahmed Mohamed El-Tayeb.

The image is one of several controversial ads in a campaign that also features U.S. President Barack Obama kissing Chinese leader Hu Jintao.

Company officials say the campaign is aimed at promoting tolerance by showing how opposites can attract.

“The iconic element, which is a kiss, in all cultures for everybody means having the barriers down,” said Alessandro Benetton, the label’s executive deputy chairman.

Each image used in the campaign was doctored without the permission of the subjects.


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