An Oscar Pistorius bullet ad has been pulled by Nike after the South African sprinter was charged with the shooting death of his girlfriend.
The Pistorius bullet ad, which ran on the footwear company’s South African website, showed the sprinter proclaiming: “I am the bullet in the chamber.” The ad took on a dark significance when authorities charged Oscar Pistorius with killing his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.
Though details of the shooting are still not clear, South African journalist Kalay Maistry told Sky News that Pistorius accidentally shot his girlfriend when she tried to wake him for a Valentine’s Day surprise, thinking she was a burglar.
A South African pay television channel noted that the campaign was being canned in light of the murder charges.
“Out of respect and sympathy to the bereaved, M-Net will be pulling its entire Oscar campaign featuring Oscar Pistorius with immediate effect,” M-Net Movies said in a tweet.Nike was a bit more tight-lipped, noting that it wouldn’t comment on the sponsorship, the Globe and Mail noted.
“We’re not commenting on our sponsorship or relationship,” Nike South Africa spokeswoman Seruscka Naidoo told AFP. At this moment, it’s a matter that’s being investigated. We’re not speaking about the sponsorship.”
Naidoo added that there was “issue at hand here which is much bigger than a sponsorship.” She noted that the site showing the Pistorius bullet ad was the sprinter’s own personal website, not a Nike-owned website.
Pistorius became a worldwide inspiration this year when he competed at the Olympics despite wearing two artificial legs. He amassed a number of sponsorships in the wake of hte games, including a modeling campaign for a Theirry Mugler fragrance line.
Before it was pulled, the Pistorius bullet ad was captured by several news outlets, including the New England Sports Network.