Someone needs to teach Esquire magazine that it's not unforgivable to make a mistake, as long as you own up to it.
Esquire.com made a shocking 9/11 gaffe yesterday, the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York.
For a few hours on Wednesday, the website featured photographer Richard Drew's famous shot of a man plunging to his death from the World Trade Center.
Right beside the photograph was the headline: "Make Your Commute More Stylish." The deck: "Look good on your way to work."
The iconic photo was the subject of an article written for Esquire magazine's September, 2003, issue.
The website eventually addressed its mistake on Wednesday, albeit a tad huffily, with the tweet, "Relax everybody. There was a stupid glitch on our 'Falling Man' story and it was fixed up. We're sorry for the confusion."
Relax? Confusion? Clearly, the apology did not satisfy those offended by the mistake and people lashed out at Esquire on Twitter.
"The inappropriateness of this post demands more than a 'relax,' " tweeted one reader. "Relax? Tell that to the families of my brother officers, you insensitive pricks!!!" said another.
In other insensitive 9/11 news, a hotel in the Marriott International chain offered an awkward promotion yesterday that was photographed on Twitter: "In remembrance of those we lost on 9/11 the hotel will provide complimentary coffee and mini muffins from 8:45 - 9:15a.m." The original tweeter (who captioned the photo simply with a "What") reportedly revealed the location of the hotel to be in Mission Valley, Calif.
As expected, the Internet was not impressed, though tweeters had a more snarky reaction to a gesture that seemed genuine, albeit tacky. "But just for a half hour," tweeted @bart_smith. Other replies ranged from "wow" to "oh dear" to incredulity at the authenticity of the photo.
Marriott International took little time reacting to the tweet, and verified the photo was real by making this statement hours after it was picked up by media outlets: "We are aware of the picture that was tweeted. It shows an offer that was made independently by the hotel and not the Marriott Hotels brand. As far as we know, it was limited to one property. While the hotel was making a sympathetic gesture to its guests in remembrance of 9/11, we apologize and understand why some people may have misunderstood the intent of the offer. We are reminding our hotels to use discretion and be sensitive when remembering major events such as 9/11."
Elsewhere, the U.S. cellphone provider AT&T drew major Twitter scorn for its promotional campaign that included a photo of the New York skyline, sans Twin Towers, with the caption "Never Forget."
AT&T issued an apology, but people still picked up on the poor taste.
"How dare you? You're using this tragedy to ADVERTISE? GFY" tweeted @JoeManna. From @BooDooPerson: "Whoever thought that was a reasonable thing to do has no idea what the hell they're doing and should be spoken to clearly and slowly."
Are you listening, Esquire?