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Deriding Gandhi: Maxim issues apology
Jeet Thayil in New York |
January 31, 2003 07:35 IST
Following a vociferous e-mail protest campaign from many thousands of people, Maxim magazine issued a carefully-worded apology for an article in its February issue that depicted Mahatma Gandhi being beaten, kicked and bloodied, in a fitness feature.
"We apologize if our cartoon depicting Mahatma Gandhi in the February 2003 issue of Maxim was interpreted as offensive," said editor-in-chief Keith Blanchard's apology, which characterised the three-page feature and its 23 computer-generated color illustrations as a 'cartoon'.
"An edgy sense of humour, laced with irony, has always been a central element of Maxim's editorial," Blanchard's note continued. "For some people, this piece may have gone one step too far."
"We at Maxim do, in fact, believe in Gandhi's teachings of peace. In fact, we chose Gandhi as the subject of our workout cartoon specifically because he is the least likely target of aggression imaginable. No offense was intended to anyone," the apology said putting an interesting spin on why it chose Gandhi for the feature.
The apology appeared at a time when Blanchard was away on vacation.
Maxim's New York office was bombarded with e-mail and phone protests, said a spokesman for the magazine adding more than 5,000 complaints arrived in the course of two days.
The apology, which will appear in the magazine's May issue, was sent to the groups responsible for organising the protests, including the National Federation of Indian American Associations, India Cause and countless private citizens.
Mahendra Joshi of the India Cause said 19,116 people had logged into the website's protest page. Around 7,000 people had gone on to lodge complaints with Maxim.
He said the magazine was clearly not expecting such a deluge of protests and had taken the only course possible.