Vatican Takes Legal Action Against Benetton Pope Gay Kiss Ads

Benetton has been a fashion icon for more than 45 years. The Italian fashion firm recently released a fairly contentious set of advertisements called "Unhate" which had photo-shopped pictures of world leaders kissing one another on the mouth. Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the Pope and an imam Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb.

In response the Vatican said Thursday that it would take "legal action to stop the distribution" of the image.

According to a statement, the Vatican told its lawyers in Italy and elsewhere in the world to "take the proper legal measures" to make sure that these images don't continue to circulate.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi issued a condemnation Wednesday night saying, "This is a grave lack of respect for the pope, an offence against the sentiments of the faithful and a clear example of how advertising can violate elementary rules of respect for people in order to attract attention through provocation."

Benetton in response has said that it would be pulling that particular portion of the ad campaign.

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