The Queer Eye star, who featured in the festive advert alongside TV star Hannah Waddingham, accused social media users of making ‘ridiculous comments’ and told them filming took place in August – two months before the Israel-Hamas war broke out.
The picture, which showed red, green and silver paper party hats that had been thrown into an open fire, appeared on Instagram for the launch of the chain’s festive TV advert.
The colours of the festive hats are also the same as the Italian and Bulgarian flags and are ones traditionally used every Christmas.
But some social media users accused M&S of ‘promoting the burning of the Palestinian flag’ – and the firm deleted the picture. M&S later apologised for any ‘unintentional hurt’.
M&S Christmas advert star Tan France has blasted criticism over an image of Christmas hats being burned after critics pointed out they were the colours of the Palestinian flag
Marks & Spencer was forced to apologise yesterday for a light-hearted image of Christmas hats being burned after critics pointed out they were the colours of the Palestinian flag
M&S apologised for the outtake image from their Christmas advert – which they said was recorded in August
After the M&S image received a backlash, France posted a selfie on Instagram with the caption: ‘The ad was shot in AUGUST, so….. maybe you’re reaching with your ridiculous comments?’
In a statement issued Wednesday night, a spokesperson for M&S tweeted: ‘Today we shared an outtake image from our Christmas Clothing and Home advert, which was recorded in August.
‘It showed traditional, festive coloured red, green and silver Christmas paper party hats in a fire grate.
‘While the intent was to playfully show that some people just don’t enjoy wearing paper Christmas hats over the festive season, we have removed the post following feedback and we apologise for any unintentional hurt caused.’
But many Instagram users defended the image.
One wrote: ‘Get a grip people! M&S you have done nothing wrong. The ad was not in bad taste at all.’
Another added: ‘Such a shame you’ve even had to issue this statement, people need to lighten up and stop reading into everything.’
A third said: ‘I’m sorry is it April 1st…..how on earth can Party hats in a fire cause offensive [sic]?’
M&S’ Christmas advert relies on celebrities such as Hannah Waddingham (pictured), Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Tan France and Zawe Ashton bring their star power to the campaign
We have Sophie turning a kitchen blow torch she is using to toast the meringue roof on her giant gingerbread house
At a party somewhere else, Tan France — the fashion guy from Netflix hit Queer Eye — is wearing a white bow tie for no good reason
Zawe Ashton is suddenly on the roof of her home, going full Tarantino in her sequins, using a roll of wrapping paper like a baseball bat to whack a blameless elf across the city skyline
At the end of the clip, Hannah goes outside to throw all her party hats and festive baubles into a woodchipper
In this year’s advert, the High Street giant appears to be encouraging shoppers to do what they want this Christmas, instead of being hidebound by endless chores, the demands of others and the tyranny of festive perfection.
Using a starry line up of singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, actresses Zawe Ashton and Waddingham, and TV star Tan France, the M&S missive for 2023 is to put yourself and your own needs first.
The stars take on festive tasks that they might not like in order to please a loved one – such as gluing together a child’s snowman sculpture and putting an angel made out of toilet roll on top of a tree instead of a more traditional decoration.
They all go on to destroy other traditional festive favourites they don’t enjoy such as writing Christmas cards, playing board games and wearing party hats.
But hours after the advert and accompanying promotional material was launched, M&S became latest big corporation to come under fire for allegedly taking sides during the conflict.
Gangs of pro-Palestinian thugs have smashed windows at Starbucks and released mice in McDonald’s amid an anti-Israeli boycott movement spreading across social media.
McDonalds appears to have been targeted after an Israeli franchisee offered discounts to soldiers and security forces.
And Starbucks faced a backlash after the company threatened to sue its labour union for copyright infringement after it posted a ‘Solidarity with Palestine’ message on social media using its logo.
McDonald’s appears to have been targeted after an Israeli franchisee offered discounts to soldiers and security forces. Pictured: Palestinian activists targeted McDonald’s in Keighley, North Yorkshire
McDonald’s has also been targeted on three occasions with live mice painted in Palestine colours
Starbucks faced a backlash after the company threatened to sue its labour union for copyright infringement after it posted a ‘Solidarity with Palestine’ message on social media using its logo. Here, a cafe in Keighley, North Yorkshire, was targeted
BDS Movement – which stands for boycotts, divestments and sanctions – has been urging supporters to put ‘pressure’ on companies that are perceived as being supportive of Israel
Israeli designer Dodo Bar Or also had her clothing lines removed from Net-a-Porter and MyTheresa after she was accused of posting a video comparing terror group Hamas to ISIS.
The Walt Disney Company donated $2million to humanitarian organisations anex condemned the ‘horrific terrorist attacks’ conducted by Hamas. And Amazen CEO Andy Jassy said violence against civillians was ‘shocking and painful to watch’.
Whilst many saw this as calling out horrifying atrocities, pro-Palestine protesters complained that companies were sympathising with Israeli victims and neglecting Palestine suffering in the past.
BDS Movement – which stands for boycotts, divestments and sanctions – has been urging supporters to put ‘pressure’ on companies that are perceived as being supportive of Israel.
The war rages on: Israeli forces blew up a refugee camp (pictured) in retaliation to the terror attacks launched by Hamas on October 7
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, most of them civilians killed in the initial Hamas rampage that started the fighting, also an unprecedented figure.
Palestinian militants also abducted around 240 people during their incursion and have continued firing rockets into Israel.
The Palestinian death toll has reached 8,805, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.
In the occupied West Bank, 130 Palestinians have been killed in violence and Israeli raids. The figure is without precedent in decades of Israeli-Palestinian violence.