EDMONTON — The organizer of an international horror movie festival in Edmonton has pulled an ad used to promote the fall event following complaints about the image.
It showed two scantily clad women chained up and appearing to be in distress, and was used to advertise VIP passes for the Festival of Fear in October.
Lianne Makuch says she was one of a number of people who reached out to the organizer with concerns.
She says she was shocked to see the image come across her Facebook news feed on Monday.
Founder Barry Gillis says he couldn't believe the outrage.
He says the image was taken from a film he is directing.
Makuch says matters were made worse when Gillis responded to complaints by calling people names and making inappropriate suggestive comments.
“His response has been extremely unprofessional, immature and really insensitive,” Makuch said.
Gillis admitted to reacting in that way.
“That was my initial reaction when I first started seeing these complaints come in,” he said in an interview with CTV Edmonton. “I thought: ‘This is ridiculous.’”
The photo was part of a sponsored Facebook ad that was meant only for people interested in horror movies, but it ended up being more widely distributed, Gillis said.
“I don’t know what happened. I think I clicked ‘boost’ on the post and ... I thought the audience was already chosen,” Gillis said.
“When I checked it later I was, like, ‘Ugh. This is why this is happening.’”
Gillis took the photo down reluctantly after the festival's venue, Landmark Cinemas, threatened to pull the plug.
“If Landmark Cinemas didn’t say anything, would the photo still be out there? Yes,” he said.