9.30.2005

The PlayStation of the Christ

Sony Pulls 'Jesus' Advert for PlayStation

from Reuters

ROME - Sony has apologized for an advertising campaign for its PlayStation game console which featured a young man wearing a crown of thorns with the slogan "Ten years of passion."

Some Catholics were outraged by the adverts, which ran in newspapers and magazines to celebrate the product's tenth anniversary.

"This time they've gone too far," said Antonio Sciortino, editor of Famiglia Cristiana, a mass-circulation Catholic weekly. "If this had concerned Islam there would have been a really strong reaction."

In the Bible, Jesus was forced to wear a crown of thorns by mocking Roman guards before he was crucified. In the advert, a young man smiles cheekily, wearing a crown whose thorns are twisted into the geometric shapes that are PlayStation's logo.

In a statement, Sony Computer Entertainment Italia expressed regret over the reaction to the advert. It acknowledged that the "spirit of the message was misunderstood" and said the campaign would not continue.

Sony's ad is not the first to irk Catholics in recent months.

"There's no religion any more," read a slogan for IKEA in an advert to inform Italians, whose Church attendance is steadily falling, that its furniture stores were open on a Sunday.

And two adapted versions of Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper have been used for adverts that caused controversy in other predominantly Catholic countries.

French fashion designer Francois Girbaud featured Jesus as a woman with a table of glamorous disciples, while Irish bookmaker Paddy Power depicted the original Christians gambling, the traitor Judas clutching his 30 pieces of silver.

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