The British snack company Walkers had to shut down an online campaign intended to highlight its potato chips after it was hijacked by mischievous social-media users with a dark sense of humor.
The company’s brand ambassador, sports broadcaster and retired soccer star Gary Lineker, asked users to send him selfies along with the hashtag #WalkersWave, to be included in a digital promotion.
But instead of selfies, fans sent in photos of the worst people they could possibly think of, from murderers to rapists to dictators.
Jimmy Savile—the BBC personality believed to have sexually abused hundreds—made a cameo. So did serial killers Fred West and Harold Shipman. And Rolf Harris, who allegedly groped teenage girls. And Joseph Stalin.
Walkers have deleted most of the tweets from #WalkersWave.
Luckily I managed to make a GIF of my favourite. pic.twitter.com/u4CfBa1F3a
— Tom Clazie Flynn (@TomClazieFlynn) May 25, 2017
— Alex Rhodes (@AlRhodes92) May 25, 2017
A horrified Walkers yanked its campaign, apologizing on Twitter earlier today.
“We recognize people were offended by irresponsible & offensive posts & we apologize,” Walkers Crisps wrote. “We are equally upset & have shut the activity down.”
Lineker had a sense of humor about the fiasco. “Had an unusual day in some very strange company,” he Tweeted. “I’m sure we’ll wave goodbye to them all by tomorrow.”