German carmaker Porsche issued an apology for a viral advertisement that omitted the prominent Cristo Rei–the large statue of Jesus Christ overlooking Lisbon, Portugal.
The original video, posted to Porsche’s YouTube channel to celebrate 60 years of the Porsche 911 model, featured a brief clip of the car driving past the monumental figure. But the version uploaded to YouTube later removed the depicted Jesus statue.
The omission caught the eye of a Twitter user who noticed the editing on Saturday, in a post that quickly went viral, being viewed by more than five million people as of Monday.
Following the public outcry, Porsche issued an apology, admonishing, “In a previously-uploaded version of the 911 S/T launch film, a landmark was removed. This was a mistake, and we apologize for any offense caused. The original film is online now.”
The apology was not universally accepted, as the Coalition of Canceled Priests, comprised largely of former Catholic priests removed from their positions, responded on Twitter with a firm statement: “Boycott @Porsche Jesus Christ is King.”
The video Porsche took down had been part of the car company’s promotion of its new 911 S/T model. With a minimum price tag of $290,000, the 911 S/T boasts a 0-60 mph speed reachable in 3.5 seconds and a maximum horsepower of 518.
The footage in the advertisement followed the changing models of the Porsche 911 over time, from its original appearance to the modern iteration.
The omission of the Jesus statue came amidst a growing decline in Christianity in the United States and current events highlighted by a recent arrest of a teen reading the Bible to a demonstrator against a drag story hour.
The Cristo Rei is a monument in the image of Jesus Christ and an iconic landmark in Portugal, constructed in the 1950s to serve as a lasting expression of the country’s gratitude for being spared the tragedies of World War II. Considered similar to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio, Brazil, the monument has notably been featured in films such as the 2011 epic detective drama Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
And while criticism for Porsche’s editing of the clip continues to remain sizable, the company appears to have heard the public’s response, and the statue has since been featured in the recent upload of the advertisement.
— Alex B. (@maisumcarneiro) August 5, 2023