Belvedere Vodka has apologized after it received strong backlash over an ad that implied sexual assault.
The ad, posted to the company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts Friday, featured a grinning man grabbing a terrified-looking woman with the words, “Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly.”
According to Forbes, the ad appeared to have been taken down from the company’s social media sites within an hour, but that did little to stem the flow of outrage from online users. Belvedere issued a general apology on Twitter Friday afternoon, which users quickly dismissed for not addressing the issue of sexual assault.
“We apologize to any of our fans who were offended by our recent tweet. We continue to be an advocate of safe and responsible drinking,” the company tweeted.
“@belvederevodka nope. Not ‘sorry we offended you’. Try ‘sorry for our part in promoting rape culture. We will do better’
#apologyfail,” Twitter user @hswindell wrote in response.
Belvedere later issued two more apologies, one from its senior vice president of marketing and one from its president, calling the ad “offensive” and “absolutely inconsistent” with the company’s values.
“It should never have happened,” President Charles Gibb said. “I am currently investigating the matter to determine how this happened and to be sure it never does so again. The content is contrary to our values and we deeply regret this lapse.”
Gibb said the company has made a donation to the anti-sexual violence organization Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network [RAINN] as a result of the ad.