Apology Given to Catholics for Company’s Ad

United Press International

A nationally known manufacturer, criticized for a controversial advertisement, has apologized to the Roman Catholic organization that said the ad defamed the religion and its schools.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, based in Milwaukee, filed a strong objection with both Esprit and Macy’s, charging that the ad said: “Catholic schools don’t teach, they brainwash; are intolerant; produce citizens who can’t think for themselves; are anti-American, anti-intellectual, anti-Christian and anti-democratic.”

The ad, included in a Macy’s department store catalogue, depicted model Romney Russo saying: “When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a nun. I think all children who go to Catholic school are brainwashed.”

The ad was also featured as a poster in San Francisco bus shelters.

The league said in a statement released this week that it has received a written letter of apology from Esprit de Corps President Doug Tompkins.


In the letter, according to the league, Tompkins said company officials “never intended to offend anyone and were remiss in our insensitivity to this remark.”

Tompkins said the ad would be removed from bus shelters and would not be published again.

Edward S. Finkelstein, Macy’s chairman, also wrote to the Catholic League. He said the ad had been created by Esprit but was not caught by Macy’s ad department, the league said.

“One does not have to be Catholic to be offended by that ad, and your indignation and distress are shared by me,” the league’s statement quoted Finkelstein as saying.