NEW YORK (AP) — An epic Twitter FAIL for fashion designer Kenneth Cole on Thursday led him to apologize for a tweet that used the crisis in Cairo to promote his spring line.
The offensive tweet touched off an online flash mob of criticism and inspired a fake Twitter feed that mocked Cole's original while attracting more than 3,000 followers on the micro-blogging site in a matter of hours.
The offending tweet from (at)KennethCole read: "Millions are in an uproar in (hashtag) Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online."
The tweet went on to provide a link to the collection, but it was taken down about five hours later, when Cole said he was sorry on Facebook.
"I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I've dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate," the post read.
He had earlier sent an apology by Twitter, but that wasn't good enough for whoever raced onto Twitter and created a satirical fake Cole feed about three hours later called (at)KennethColePR.
"Wardrobe got you water-BORED? GITMO of our new spring collection," read one send-up.
Other deliberately offensive tweets from the fake feed included, "Rolling through Germany? Gestapo by our new Berlin store!" and "Jeffrey Dahmer would have eaten up our spring collection!"
Cole is known for timely, news-related ads. Shortly after the Gulf oil spill last year, he opened an online T-shirt store to raise money for the cleanup with shirt slogans like "I Clean Up Well." After a jet landed safely on the Hudson River in 2009, Cole plastered a billboard with, "In tough times, some land on their feet (others on the Hudson)."
A spokeswoman for Kenneth Cole, Laura Klein, confirmed that the designer himself had written the original tweet and the apology.
"And the day's award for corporate insensitivity goes to: Kenneth Cole," wrote Nick McMaster on Newser, a news aggregator site.
Cole is married to Maria Cuomo Cole, the sister of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.