Marks & Spencer has just come out and said it would drop former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry after the comments he made in which he called Nazi imagery “fantastic”.
M&S had been using the singer in its ‘my autograph suit’ advertising campaign in the UK, and for all of its rebranded ethical marketing.
Yesterday it was still saying it would not comment, which appeared curious given the store’s support for Israel.
M&S is well known for its support for Israel, which I have no problem with, and it is estimated do around $233m in trade with Israel every year (although to be fair this is the figure quoted by the likes of the Boycott Israel campaign, which is supported by the usual suspects).
Ferry told the Welt Am Sonntag newspaper: “The Nazis knew how to put themselves in the limelight and present themselves.
“The way that the Nazis staged themselves and presented themselves, my Lord! I’m talking about the films of Leni Riefenstahl and the buildings of Albert Speer and the mass marches and the flags. Just fantastic – really beautiful.”
His remarks have been called “deeply insensitive”. They may have been, but really they were also very stupid. Who goes to Germany, talks to a German newspaper and thinks that they must naturally talk about the Nazis? As someone has pointed out it always starts with the flags and the uniforms.
Riefenstahl was a German film-maker who became notorious for her Nazi propaganda films while, as we know, Speer was Hitler’s chief architect and minister for armaments during World War II who used armies of slave labourers on his projects.
Ferry has, of course, apologised, with some bizarre statement saying he was “deeply upset” and that his comments were solely made “from an art history perspective”. Well that’s okay then, but what has saying “the Nazis knew how to put themselves in the limelight and present themselves” got to do with art history?
M&S might not have been as quick as some would have liked, but it has made the right decision.