A French fashion chain is at the center of a scandal today over a seemingly innocuous photo of happy children in an online ad. The retailer–La Redoute–used the above image of four smiling kids to sell these “short sleeved boys’ shirts.” Problem is, the ad features a totally naked man lurking in the background, penis visible and all (a lurking penis man, if you will). Here’s what it looked like on the web:

Although seemingly every time we post about nudity and children, we’re subjected to endless comments lambasting “PC Americans” and explaining how the French wouldn’t bat an eye at this and then they misuse Puritanical a bunch, etc (patati patata?)… the French Twittersphere has indeed erupted in outrage over the image (“SCANDALE!”). In response, La Redoute has removed the image entirely (replacing it with generic product shots) and issued a full apology on Facebook.

We’d say the image is more bizarre than offensive, but we can all probably agree that a serious lack of judgment was at play.

(StyleList UK)