Berlin flipped the bird on people who refuse to wear masks amid the coronavirus pandemic — launching an ad showing an elderly woman giving the finger, according to reports.
“A finger-wag for all those without a mask,” read the poster by the capital city’s tourism authority that features the woman wearing a floral-patterned mask, Deutsche Welle reported.
The “We obey the corona rules” ad — which Visit Berlin and the city senate launched Tuesday — was aimed at preventing the further spread of the deadly bug and to highlight the importance of protecting the health of the elderly.
But it drew swift criticism on social media, with some blasting it as divisive, and was pulled the next day.
“It is a provocative image,” said Christian Tänzler, a spokesman for Visit Berlin, which promotes the city, Reuters reported.
“Most Berliners and our guests respect and follow the corona rules but some people don’t. These people risk the lives of older people and people from the at-risk community,” he told the BBC.
Tänzler said that while the ad was dropped, a recent campaign that seeks to play on the city’s notoriously dry humor to promote pandemic rules would continue.
“Berliners are very well known for their direct communication,” he said, adding that he thought many Britons would appreciate the levity.
Senate member Marcel Luthe said he had made a formal complaint to authorities about the ad because it incited hatred against all those who can’t wear a mask, including young kids and people with other health issues.
Lorenz Maroldt, editor-in-chief of the Der Tagesspiegel newspaper, also expressed his opposition.
“I think the ad is in a way ‘classic Berlin’ and would work out well without the dysfunctional corona-politics of the senate as a contrast to it,” he said, the BBC reported.
“The Senate seem to think that insulting people is more successful than strict, clear rules with efficient controls. They failed with that completely,” he added.