Berlin mayor: Ad giving middle finger to anti-maskers ’embarrassing’

Berlin’s mayor has branded as “embarrassing” a controversial advertisement in which an elderly lady gives the middle finger to people who do not wear masks.

“This advertisement is embarrassing,” Michael Mueller of the centre-left SPD told public broadcaster RBB, adding that the German capital’s Senate had not commissioned the public information campaign.

The image placed in Berlin newspapers in September shows an angry mask-wearing pensioner giving the middle finger alongside slogans including: “A finger reprimand for all those without a mask. We stick to the coronavirus rules.”

“There could have been more fortunate ways to draw attention to the urgency” of the situation, Mueller said, referring to a spike in the number of new infections in the city.

The ad was developed by tourism agency Visit Berlin, whose spokesman Christians Taenzler said on Tuesday that the image had been a conscious bid to convey the coarse-but-heartfelt character the German capital is known for.

Taenzler added that the campaign had been a success: It had drawn attention to the fact that people who refuse to wear masks are endangering the lives of elderly people.

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