Canadian telecommunications giant Bell Canada is pulling down over 50 ads placed around parts of Toronto and Vancouver, because they show a woman wearing a button that reads “Belsen was a gas,” the title of a Sex Pistols song and a reference to the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. The button is one of many the model wears, and the company says it was impossible to read during approval and proofing, and only became legible when blown up to billboard-size proportions. [Reuters and Free Republic]


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  1. thepounder says:

    For reference, here’s the lyrics to that particular Sex Pistols song —

    Belsen was a gas I heard the other day
    In the open graves where the Jews all lay
    Life is fun and I wish you were here
    They wrote on postcards to those held dear
    Oh dear

    Sergeant majors on the march
    Wash their bodies in the starch
    See them all die one by one
    Guess it’s dead guess it’s glad
    So bad

    Belsen was a gas I heard the other day
    In the open graves where the Jews all lay
    Life is fun and I wish you were here
    They wrote on postcards to those held dear
    Oh dear

    Be a man be a man Belsen was a gas
    Be a man kill someone kill yourself be a man
    Be someone kill someone be a man kill yourself

    I imagine this is going to be very very bad for Solo Mobile… to say the least.

  2. CoffeeAddict says:

    Although I applaud Bell’s sensitivity in this matter, don’t see how anyone would be offended by the button.

  3. You should post more stuff from Free Republic, like their veiled assassination threats against Democrats, or their racist code-words – like those directed against the citizens of New Orleans. That’d be great! Thanks!

    The next time Free Republic is cited as a source here is the last time I visit. As a site that has so vehemently railed against neo-Nazi propaganda, the Consumerist ought to recognize a hate site when it sees one.

  4. Snakeophelia says:

    Free Republic has no more or less vicious, hateful cranks than the more popular left-wing blogs. But straight reporting of a news story is straight reporting of a news story. Skip the comments if you don’t like them.

    As for this story, I agree that it’s silly to use punkers to move product, and even sillier for Reuters to write an article about a photo controversy and not include a photo.

  5. Cowboys_fan says:

    Somebody made a mistake…moving on…

  6. thepounder says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: I’d say nothing sheds an uglier light on them than putting their awful name out there for people to become acquainted with. Much like blech.

  7. @CaliforniaCajun: This is the author of the post. I try to steer clear of overtly political sites whenever I list sources, and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t recognize Free Republic as such when I read the article, because it is presented in a very straightforward, non-politicized way. I just revisited the page and realized that the story was pulled from a Toronto newspaper, which might explain its lack of an overt political viewpoint.

    Here is the link to the original story:


    I wish I’d seen that link on Friday; I would have cited the original source instead.

    Having said all that, I used The Huffington Post as a reference the week before, so maybe this evens things out a little. But as The Consumerist isn’t meant to be a political blog (other than to promote an activist role for consumers), I will continue to try to avoid bringing any super-left or super-right sources into the mix unless absolutely necessary.

    I hope you continue to read the blog, and realize that when we link to stories, we are not by default implicitly endorsing or agreeing with the sources. I only included the 2nd link because that story had a few more details that Reuters left out, and I thought readers would appreciate the wider coverage.

    @SNAKEOPHELIA: I was surprised that Reuters chickened out of a photo, too! The Toronto newspaper, however, shows a close-up of the offending button, if you’re curious. I thought about posting it here, but felt it would be in poor taste.