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Auschwitz Photo Usage in Gym Ad Sparks Controversy

A Dubai gym and fitness center is under serious fire for using an image of the infamous Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in one of its recent 2012 fitness campaigns.

The IBTimes reports that using the slogan “Kiss your calories goodbye,” Phil Parkinson, a 32-year-old British national and founder of the Circuit Factory gym, published a photo of Auschwitz to promote the club’s weight-loss and exercise classes.

The tasteless ad was one in a series of 10 photos posted on gym’s Facebook page.

“The idea of the campaign isn’t to upset anybody,” he said. “The way branding works is … you want people talking about your business. We want them talking about us, but we don’t want people to take offense at it.”

Below is the controversial Circuit Factory Auschwitz ad.

auschwitz gym ad dubai Circuit Factory gym

Regardless of Parkinson’s intentions with the campaign, reaction on social media was predictably harsh.

“What the HELL Circuit Factory thinking when they launched this campaign?” tweeted rachelannmorris.

“The circuit factory epic fail ad. Apparently you lost your brain while trying to lose weight. #GoDie,” tweeted AlisonLehr.

Following the incident, Parkinson took to Facebook and wrote:

“In light of a recent poster that has caused offense – Very sorry for this – provoking campaign. It’s been removed and deleted.”

The gym owner added that he also fired the individual in charge of creating the Auschwitz ad.

In light of Parkinson’s apology The Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman said the league accepted his apology, but also expressed its displeasure in an official statement.

“We are increasingly troubled by both the ignorance and mindset of a generation that appears to be so distant from a basic understanding of the Holocaust that it seems acceptable to use this horrific tragedy as a gimmick to bring attention to promoting losing weight,” Foxman said. “What do we have to do to educate and impart to current and future generations the perils of bigotry, racism, discrimination and anti-Semitism?”

Do you think The Circuit Factory gym should be punished for its usage of the Auschwitz photo in its ad? At the end of the day, is the almighty dollar really worth sacrificing one’s ethics?