To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Marks & Spencer forced to apologise and take down 'vile' Christmas ad following backlash

Marks & Spencer forced to apologise and take down 'vile' Christmas ad following backlash

Viewers have branded the advert offensive

Marks & Spencer has been forced to apologise after part of its Christmas advert was branded as 'vile'.

On Wednesday (1 November) the national food and fashion retailer shared an Instagram post to their official account, in which a collection of paper Christmas hats were thrown into a burning fireplace.

The post was captioned: "This Christmas, do only what you love... like saying no to paper hats'."

However, it triggered heavy criticism from M&S' followers.

Many spectators noticed that that burning hats were in fact, the colours of the Palestinian flag.

Due to ongoing tensions in the Middle East, some viewers appeared to accuse the popular supermarket as taking the Israeli side of the controversial conflict.

Among the hundreds of comments on the post, one follower branded the festive advertisement as 'insensitive', given the current crisis in Gaza.

The ad was dubbed 'vile'.

Another described the post - part of M&S' 'Love This-mas (Not That-mas)' campaign, featuring TV stars Tan France and Hannah Waddingham - as 'disgusting'.

"This is absolutely vile, you should be ashamed of yourselves," a third penned.

Another added: "Absolutely disgusting. Even if it was recorded in August you should have reshot this image or used technology to make changes. Shame on you!!!"

In the advert, Sex Education actor Waddingham could be seen throwing a load of silver card crowns into a wood chipper, creating sparkling confetti, while Queer Eye star France decorates a tree.

It triggered heavy criticism from M&S' followers.
Michael McNerney/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

M&S later posted an apologetic statement on social media, claiming not to have intended to cause offence.

It read: "Today we shared an outtake image from our Christmas Clothing and Home advert, which was recorded in August.

"It showed festive coloured red, green and silver party hats in a fire grate.

"While the intent was to playfully show that some people just don't enjoy wearing paper Christmas hats over the festive season, we have removed the post following feedback and we apologise for any unintentional hurt caused."

M&S apologised for the post.

Despite the controversy, many M&S shoppers have defended the advertisement, with one responding: "Why are you apologising when it was recorded in August? If some stupid person thinks you have purposely just made it up since the 7th Oct then that's down to them. Deary me."

Another wrote: "Oh for heaven's sake. I don't often use the word snowflake but this is ridiculous. You're apologising because people got 'offended' by a photo of Christmas hats in a fire grate?"

Tyla has contacted Marks & Spencer for further comment.

To donate to Save the Children, which helps children survive wherever disaster strikes, you can visit its website.

Featured Image Credit: Michael McNerney/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images/Instagram/@marksandspencer

Topics: Politics, Shopping, Marks And Spencer, Christmas