Advert for burger van banned for joking about Madeleine McCann

·2-min read
 Gerry and Kate McCann on the tenth anniversary of Maddy’s disappearance  (PA)
Gerry and Kate McCann on the tenth anniversary of Maddy’s disappearance (PA)

An advert for a burger van making light of the Madeleine McCann case to promote a Mother’s Day sale has been banned for causing offence.

The Otley Burger Company in Leeds, known for courting controversy with poor taste advertising, has been rapped for using an image of Madeleine and her mother Kate.

Madeleine was three when she was abducted from a holiday apartment in Algarve in 2007.

The company posted images of the mother and daughter on Facebook and Instagram, along with the message: “With burgers this good, you’ll leave your kids at home. What’s the worst that could happen [sic] Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there.”

In the background, a crudely photoshopped man was shown running away from Kate McCann with a smaller image of Madeleine in his hands.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)ruled the ads must not appear again, adding: “We told The Otley Burger Company to ensure they avoided causing serious and widespread offence and distress.”

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have all now deleted the ad.

Madeleine McCann - In pictures

When confronted by Leeds Live about the offence caused, Mr Scholey replied with a simple: “LOL”

“I don’t really have a message to them [those offended]. Maybe LOL? It’s a good laugh, isn’t it? I couldn’t care if people are really offended, I really don’t.”

Last year he used disgraced mum Karen Matthews, who pretended her daughter Shannon had been abducted to promote Mother’s Day.

The business owner posted a collage featuring local necrophile Jimmy Savile, serial killers Peter Sutcliffe and Fred West as well as Josef Fritzl for Father’s Day alongside a caption that read “to all the dads out there”.

He told Leeds Live he posts the sick images to get attention and then a “couple of hundred pounds” for his business.

Madeleine’s disappearance sent shockwaves around the world, which the ASA said meant the images used would be “instantly recognisable to many people”.

“We further considered that any reference to a missing child was likely to be distressing and that in the context of an ad promoting a burger company the distress caused was unjustified,” the authority said.

It continued to say the image of a man running away with a superimposed photo of Madeleine “trivialised the circumstances” around her disappearance and “made light of a distressing news story”.

The Mother’s Day timing of the posts was “likely to have compounded the distress of those who saw the ads, and particularly for those who may have experienced the disappearance of a child.”

The Metropolitan Police say their active investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, Operation Grange, is a missing person inquiry as there is no “definitive evidence whether she is alive or dead”.

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