Porsche has come under criticism for digitally removing a statue of Jesus from the background of a promotional video celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 911 model.
The 30-second clip shows various iterations of the iconic sports car racing along winding roads and through cities. At one point, a Porsche is seen driving along a road in Lisbon, Portugal with a panoramic view of the Cristo Rei statue – a famous landmark featuring a large statue of Jesus Christ with outstretched arms.
However, in the video released by Porsche, the Cristo Rei statue has been digitally removed from the background, leaving an unnaturally empty hilltop vista.
The editing has sparked outrage, with critics accusing Porsche of disrespecting the religious and cultural significance of the Cristo Rei statue for Lisbon residents and Portuguese people in general. Some have called the move “culturally insensitive” and demanded an apology from Porsche.
Porsche has since acknowledged the mistake and apologized, saying the removal of the statue was “unintentional” and “not in keeping with Porsche’s values.” The company said in a statement:
“We apologize for the offense caused. The video was created by an external agency and the removal of the statue was a mistake. We have the utmost respect for cultural and religious symbols and sensitivity, and we will take immediate steps to ensure this does not happen again.”
The company has not yet said whether it will re-edit the video or pull it from circulation. But the controversy serves as a lesson for major brands to be more mindful of cultural sensitivities when producing global marketing campaigns.