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Burger King in Spain apologizes, pulls offensive Holy Week ads

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The fast-food chain Burger King in Spain has withdrawn and apologized for an offensive ad campaign that sparked outrage among Catholics during Holy Week.

“We apologize to all those who have felt offended by our campaign aimed at promoting our vegetable products during Holy Week. Our intention has never been to offend anyone and the immediate withdrawal of the campaign has already been requested,” Burger King announced Easter Sunday on its official Twitter account.

The fast-food chain chose to use on billboards throughout Spain the words of Jesus at the Last Supper consecrating the bread, modifying them to promote a new vegetarian burger. The ad campaign provoked the outrage of thousands of Catholics, several priests, and a bishop.

One of the billboards read: “Take all of you and eat of it. Which doesn’t have meat. 100% vegetarian. 100% flavor. Big King Vegetable.” Another ad read, “Flesh of my flesh,” with the word “flesh,” which is the same word for meat in Spanish, crossed out, and replaced with “vegetable.”

When pushback against the Burger King brand went viral, the hashtag #BoicotBurgerKing began to circulate on social media, and a petition drive was launched on the CitizenGO platform.

“They make fun of the Eucharist and the death of Christ during the most sacred time for Christians. They take advantage of Holy Week to launch a campaign offensive to millions of believers in order to get publicity and make money. It’s time to respond with a boycott of Burger King,” reads the petition, which demands the removal of the ads, an apology, and the firing of a top executive.

“Money is the only thing these companies understand and only with a boycott will they begin to respect Christians and Jesus Christ as they deserve,” the text adds.

As of Monday, April 18, the petition had garnered more than 22,000 signatures.

CitizenGO said that Burger King must get “such a response to its campaign that they never consider producing such an ad again,” because “there is nothing that a company fears more than citizens mobilizing against it.”

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Burger King in Spain apologizes, pulls offensive Holy Week ads