Ads for Nazi-themed TV show The Man in the High Castle pulled down

  • Reuters, New York
  • Updated: Nov 25, 2015 12:01 IST
A New York City subway car is covered in Nazi imagery to promote the new Amazon television series "The Man in the High Castle" on November 24, 2015 in New York City. Amazon has decided to pull the ads, which were placed on the 42nd Street Shuttle, which runs between Times Square and the transit hub Grand Central Terminal. The ads were pulled following an outcry from passengers and social media users. (AFP)

Advertisements for the new Inc show The Man in the High Castle featuring Nazi-inspired imagery have been pulled from a busy New York City subway line after Governor Andrew Cuomo intervened, a transit spokesman said late on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had also called on Amazon to pull the ads, saying they were “irresponsible and offensive to World War Two and Holocaust survivors, their families, and countless other New Yorkers.” The show, based on a Philip K. Dick novel, depicts an alternate reality in which Nazi Germany and Japan have divided control over the United States after winning World War Two. The advertisements include a version of the American flag with a German eagle and iron cross in place of the stars, as well as a stylized imperial Japanese flag.

Adam Lisberg, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said the train was taken out of service after the evening rush hour so the ads could be removed. The advertisements for The Man in the High Castle had completely wrapped the seats, walls and ceilings of one train on the shuttle line that connects Times Square and Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan.

An Amazon representative said earlier in the evening that the company had not requested the ads be pulled, contradicting a transit official who had said the company itself had asked for the removal.

Passengers board a 42nd Street Shuttle subway train, wrapped with advertising for the Amazon series The Man in the High Castle in the Manhattan borough of New York, November 24, 2015. (REUTERS)

Lisberg would not comment on internal discussions between the MTA and its advertisers but said Cuomo had called the head of the MTA on Tuesday and asked him to ensure the ads were taken down.

In a statement, Amazon did not directly address the controversy, saying the show is part of its lineup of “high-quality, provocative programming that spurs conversation.” The shuttle train ads had been scheduled to run until Dec. 6. Amazon’s 260 subway station posters for the show have not been removed.

Watch the trailer of The Man in the High Castle

The MTA had said the advertisements did not violate the agency’s content-neutral guidelines, which ban political ads.

All 10 episodes of the show were released on Nov. 20 on the Amazon Prime streaming service.

Frank Spotnitz, the show’s creator, told Entertainment Weekly he agreed the advertisements could be seen as offensive.

“It’s very difficult with a show with subject matter like this to market it tastefully,” the magazine quoted him as saying. “If they had asked me, I would have strongly advised them not to do it.”

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Alistair Bell and Sandra Maler)

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