I’m sure many of you have seen the images for the Benetton UNHATE Campaign. For those of you who haven’t, let me enlighten you. Sponsored by the Italian fashion firm Benetton, the campaign was launched in November 2011, and was aimed at promoting “a culture of un-hate” by using the universal symbol of love: a kiss. Digitally manipulated images were produced that depict world leaders (who are viewed as adversaries) in such a way that they appear to be kissing:
Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China President of the USA
Chancellor of Germany President of France
Supreme Leader of North Korea President of South Korea
President of the Palestinian National Authority Prime Minister of Israel
Pope Sheikh of the Al-Azhar Mosque
The campaign came under attack by the Vatican as a result of the above image of Pope Benedict XVI kissing Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, and Benetton was forced to remove the image shortly after it was released. The Vatican argued that the image showed "a grave lack of respect for the Pope" and that it was "damaging not only to the dignity of the pope and the Catholic Church but also to the feelings of believers".
It was announced yesterday that Benetton has agreed to donate an unspecified sum of money to the Catholic Church in an attempt to halt legal action. The offending image was removed from the campaign, and Benetton has made efforts to ensure that it is not replicated by third parties. The Vatican views this donation as a "moral victory", however the campaign has raised questions regarding the church's response to the image.
What do you think?