Military officials have removed and apologized for a flyer featuring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. atop the words “fun shoot” at an Air Force Base in Georgia. The event was to be held on the holiday honoring the civil rights leader. The flyer advertised a gathering with skeet shooting on Jan. 18 for the Robins Air Force Base Trap and Skeet Club. An official at the military base’s Outdoor Recreation office said it was created by a marketing team.
Not surprisingly, associating Dr. King's image with the word "shoot" and a figure holding a rifle was found by some to be in poor taste:
It does appear that it was an extremely unfortunate mistake, as the base holds "fun shoots" on other federal holidays. There's one scheduled on President's Day entitled George Washington Fun Shoot, for example. It just so happens that Martin Luther King Jr. is the only person with a federal holiday who died as a result of assassination. The Air Force issued this statement:
We’re deeply sorry for any offense or harm caused by our insensitivity and failure to provide appropriate oversight of our marketing process. The flyer does not represent the values, opinions or views of the Department of Defense, the Air Force or Robins Air Force Base leadership and its employees.
We realized the inappropriateness of the advertisement several days ago and immediately began removing the flyer. There was no malice of forethought in the flyer’s creation and it was never the base’s intention to portray Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in a negative light. It was an honest mistake, to which we’ve personally counseled the parties involved and will provide them with remedial training and appropriate oversight to prevent this sort of inattention from occurring in the future.
Again, we offer our heartfelt apology to those affected by our thoughtlessness. We hold the legacy of Dr. King in the highest regard.
The Air Force did blame the marketing team, but they should get with the times and specifically blame it on a graphic designer or intern. They also noted that they'll administer "remedial training" to the parties involved, which was a polite and formal way of hinting that whoever approved the flyer made a dumb mistake and got screamed at by an Air Force superior.