Marks and Spencer has apologised after posting an outtake from its Christmas advert on Instagram that showed hats in the colours of the Palestinian flag burning in a fire.
The image posted to the retailer’s social media had festive red, green and silver paper hats burning in a fireplace. The image was captioned: “This Christmas, do what you love... like saying no to paper hats”. The hashtag said #LoveThismasNotThatmas.
Some social media users pointed out that the colours of the festive chapeau were similar to that of the Palestinian flag and felt the image was inappropriate considering the current Israel-Palestine conflict.
M&S said the outtake from the advert it shared on Instagram was recorded in August, months prior to Hamas launching a surprise attack on Israel on 7 October.
The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 8,800 Palestinians, and a further 22,000 have been injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
On the Israeli side more than1,400 people have died, mainly civilians killed during Hamas’s initial attack. Sixteen IDF soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the start of the ground operation.
M&S released its star-studded Christmas advert this week with the theme that people should shun the endless chores of Christmas and focus on enjoying themselves.
Using a line-up of famous faces including singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Marvel actor Zawe Ashton, Ted Lasso star and Emmy award winner Hannah Waddingham and presenter and style expert Tan France, the retailer’s message for its shoppers is to put themselves first.
It is set in four different homes, featuring Waddingham, Ellis-Bextor, France and Ashton, as they decide which Christmas traditions they will embrace and which ones they will leave.
The ad is set to Ray BLK’s version of I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).
M&S said in a statement posted to X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday evening: “Today we shared an outtake image from our Christmas Clothing and Home advert, which was recorded in August.
“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.”