Make love, not war. While the sentiment remains a popular one, posters for a Remembrance Day "Makeout Party" at a Calgary pub incited rage rather than warm-and-fuzzy feelings from Calgarians.
Angry veterans and supporters criticized the pub's disrespectful capitalization on the holiday.
See the poster, featuring the iconic image of a sailor kissing a girl, at the Calgary Sun.
Local 110 Public Tavern and Kitchen ownership team member Brian Lee insists there was no ill intent behind the advertised free event. Rather, organizers were simply not thinking.
"[The makeout parties] are actually a regular event that we do every long weekend," Lee told the Calgary Sun following veterans' and the younger generation's expressed disapproval for the advertised November 11 event at the tavern.
"Maybe there was a lack of foresight in the planning. We had no intention to be disrespectful or offend anybody…that was the last thing we wanted to do."
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A statement posted on Local 110's site echoed Lee's sentiments:
"It has come to our attention that the November 11th edition of the "Makeout Party" has caused some controversy. In no way was this the intent. The "Makeout Party" is a DJ night that has run regularly on long weekends; it was not meant to dishonour or disrespect the meaning of Remembrance Day. If anyone has been offended, that was not the intention; and we apologize to those that were."
"Makeout party implies it would almost be a sexual connotation," Al Seddon, a 76-year-old Royal Canadian Air Force vet told QMI Agency, taking issue with the word "makeout" more than with the event itself.
Former NATO soldier and Mideast peacekeeper Ray Hessler, 83, agrees:
"I don't agree with it at all," he said of sexualizing Remembrance Day. "It's very offensive, I think."
Bill Cheeseman, a WWII veteran, shrugged off the advertisement:
"If you don't want to go, you don't have to go," he told CTV Calgary.
The offending poster has since been removed from the tavern and Twitter.
Local 110 isn't the first Calgary watering hole to find itself in veterans' bad books. Last year, The Roadhouse Nightclub & Bar told Calgarians in a radio ad that the only thing really worth remembering on November 11 was partying at the nightclub the night before.
"It said, 'What will you remember on Nov. 11th? That you were at the Roadhouse the night before and didn't have to go to work the next day,'" criticized Ryan Preston, 27, a young veteran who completed three tours of duty in Afghanistan.
Roadhouse owner Chris Dobson quickly apologized for the radio spot.
"I just got back in town and heard about this ad that they made a mistake on," wrote Roadhouse owner Chris Dobson in an email to the Calgary Sun. "It was off the air the same day, was not worded right and produced right."
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Dobson also sent an apology to those who complained about the ad:
"Remembrance Day is a very important day to all of us and we are grateful for everything soldiers (past and present) have done for our country," read the apology. "We have nothing but the utmost respect for those who choose to serve."