Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cop execution ad provokes storm

From: NPE
An advertisement for a brand of youth clothing got more attention than it bargained for after being slammed by the justice minister, and irate policemen reported it the prosecutor’s office.

The reason for the anger is that the advertisement, which appeared in the magazine Skateboard, showed a skateboarder pointing a pistol at the head of a cowering policeman under the blunt slogan “On your knees, dog!”

Although the advertisement ran in the January/February edition of the magazine, it re-surfaced just days after the funeral of a Warsaw policeman stabbed to death after accosting some hooligans at a tram stop, and its violent tone drew immediate criticism.

“I don’t know what was going on inside the head of the person who designed this advertisement. Clearly not much goes on there normally,” said Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, the justice minister. “For those of us involved in the protection of public servants the recent terrible event makes it clear that all of us have to ensure that such unacceptable behaviour does not occur again.

“I hope that the most effective punishment for this type of stupidity is that Poles don’t buy this brand of clothing,” he added. “Let this be the most effective method of educating those people who have disgracefully tried to build a career in marketing.”

The police, worried that the picture could encourage people to attack their officers, also wasted little time in attacking the advertisement by starting a criminal investigation.

“We have submitted a complaint to the District Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw-Mokotow,” reported Mariusz Sokolowski, a spokesman for the capital’s police.

To compound the spluttering anger of the authorities, Lukasz Kosy, co-founder of Guru Gomez, the fashion brand in question, appeared quite proud of the advertisement, explaining that it echoed a common sentiment in skateboarding community.

“Such an idea [holding a gun to a policeman] is in the head of every skateboarder,” the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza quoted him as saying. “The boys do not like policemen and security guards.”

But the authorities can take some heart from the reaction of skateboarders to the advertisement published on internet forums dedicated to the pastime. Most condemned the advertisement, with many pledging to not to purchase any Guru Gomez clothes.