Al-Qaeda mastermind featured for ‘hairs, not terrorism’ in cosmetic ad: Turkish company
A cosmetic company used Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Pakistani former al-Qaeda leader who is best known as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attack, in one of its ads, prompting outcry.
A Turkish cosmetics company that ran a controversial online ad for its hair removal product has defended itself, arguing that it featured a notorious al-Qaeda militant “for his hair, not terrorism.”
The ad for the hair removal product reads, in Turkish, “Waiting won’t get rid of that hair!” or, more literally, “The hair will not go away because you keep waiting!”
The slogan is accompanied by a photo of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Pakistani former al-Qaeda leader who is best known as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attack. Mohammed is currently being held in U.S. military custody in Guantánamo Bay and faces the death penalty if convicted.
“We didn’t know that he was a terrorist. This image is in popular use in Turkish memes on the Internet. The guy is quite hairy, so we thought his body was a good fit for our ad,” Mehmet Can Yıldız, a representative for the cosmetics company, told Hürriyet via phone on Nov. 4.
Yıldız said the company had discovered the image on İnci Sözlük, a Turkish online social community website that can be described as Turkey’s answer to 4chan.org. “Several popular caps [humorously captioned images] were produced with his photo. Most were related to insomnia,” he added.
“We didn’t want to imply anything political. We didn’t know that it could become an international story. I repeat: We featured him for his hair, not terrorism,” Yıldız said.
U.S. news website Vox had first reported the controversial ad on Nov. 1.