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Bel cheese marketing offends disabled
Cheese-maker Bel has apologized for a summer advertising campaign several groups representing the disabled said offended disabled children.
Several organizations said they found offensive the campaign for products such as Mini Babybel, that included a toy, one of which was stamped “Holidays for the mental!” the French edition of The Local reported Wednesday.
On Monday, the French National Union of Associations of Parents of Mentally Handicapped Children called for a boycott of Bel products, which include Boursin, Leerdammer and Laughing Cow cheeses.
Bel Director General Etienne Lecomte told French media his company “recognizes this message is extremely tactless and apologizes to disabled people.”
He said Bel was conducting an internal investigation to find the origin of the stamped phrase, “even if it is clear they did not intend any harm.”
“We’re very sensitive to the problem,” Lecomte said. “We have a high number of disabled people working for us in our factories,” adding that he had also apologized personally to the UNAPEI [the French organization].”
Bel stopped production and distribution of the promotional toys in question, The Local.fr reported.
“We have to stop using words that don’t correspond to reality,” Christel Prado, the organization’s president, said.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International