It’s been nearly three years since Foghorn put his final test round through ArmaLite’s gargantuan AR-50, but the bolt-action .50 BMG is still making noise. This week it’s shaking the world of Italian arts and antiquities, and it’s all because ArmaLite Photochopped a super-sized rifle into the arms of Michelangelo’s David . . .
The cheeky Photochop, with the tag line, “It’s A Work Of Art” (click here to view it) has the Italian cognoscenti in a lather. It’s even got Culture Minister Dario Franceschini’s bocce balls in a twist. As bbc.com reports, he’s crying Basta! and Tweeting: “The image of David, armed, offends and infringes the law. We will take action against the American company so that it immediately withdraws its campaign.”
The Historical Heritage and Fine Arts Board also sent ArmaLite a cease and desist letter demanding that the ad be withdrawn, claiming that the Italian government has a copyright on commercial images of the sculpture.
Which may actually be true, but this controversy is still just sound and fury, signifying nothing. ArmaLite actually pulled the ad last July, and they’ve done a pretty good job of scrubbing the Photochopped David from the internet as well. It took me a lot of searching to actually find a link to the the image at all.
Here’s a quote from ArmaLite’s press release, which was released just this afternoon after I reached out to them for comment:
ArmaLite has recently been made aware that an advertisement utilizing the image of the statue of Michelangelo’s David holding an ArmaLite AR-50A1 rifle was found to be offensive by certain individuals.
ArmaLite deeply regrets offending anyone and certainly had no intention of doing so.
The “Work of Art” media campaign was initiated over a year ago, but was removed from circulation when the new ownership of ArmaLite took responsibility for Company direction in July 2013.
ArmaLite has been making some of the finest firearms for military, law enforcement and commercial applications for 60 years and was the inventor of the AR platform of sporting rifles. In fact, AR stands for ArmaLite.
Mark Johnson, the chief executive officer of Strategic Armory Corps, LLC, the current owner of ArmaLite stated, “I believe that an advertisement utilizing an altered photograph of a masterpiece such as David is in poor taste. We deeply regret that ArmaLite offended anyone by this media campaign, which we ended upon our acquisition of the Company.”
“We will make every effort to be sure that any remnants from the campaign are removed from the public”.