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  1. Politics
20 November 2009

Exclusive: easyJet grounds in-flight magazine after Holocaust gaffe

Airline U-turn follows Holocaust Memorial fashion shoot

By Stephen Morris

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An image from easyJet’s inflight magazine’s fashion shoot

The airline easyJet is withdrawing all copies of its in-flight magazine, easyJet Traveller, after a row erupted over a tasteless fashion shoot at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.

The airline took the decision after being contacted by the New Statesman this afternoon.

The latest issue of the in-flight magazine featured two unsanctioned photographs of models posing in designer clothes among the famous concrete blocks of the “Field of Stelae”, Germany’s foremost memorial to commemorate the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide.

The magazine did not seek permission from the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which only became aware that the photographs existed when contacted by the New Statesman yesterday.

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In a statement, the Memorial’s director, Uwe Neumärker, said it “grants permissions only to projects which are related to the memorial, the Holocaust or some aspect of commemoration.”

“The Foundation Memorial does not support commercial shoots, and fashion photography is considered to fall into this category.”

“The Foundation Memorial will contact the easyJet airline company in writing in order to clarify the circumstances of the photo shoot.”

According to the Foundation, security personnel are on duty around the clock to prevent such incidents happening, but it was impossible to monitor the entire area due to its size and complexity.

In a statement to the New Statesman, the airline said:

“easyJet profusely apologises to anyone who may be offended by the inappropriate fashion photo shoot at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin featured in this month’s issue of the in-flight magazine.”

“The magazine is produced by INK — an external publishing house, and easyJet were not aware of the images until they appeared in print. As a consequence we are now reviewing our relationship with the publisher and are withdrawing this month’s issue from all flights.”

“easyJet prides itself on bringing together a wide range of cultures and beliefs and is appalled by this insensitive and inconsiderate photo-shoot, the aim of which was to highlight some of Berlin’s iconic landmarks and certainly no offence was meant.”

But the Labour MP Denis MacShane, who heads the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism, told newstatesman.com

“This is further evidence of the banalisation of anti-Semitism and the trivialisation of the genocidal massacre of Jews in the Second World War.”

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