One of France's best-known mail order catalogues apologised on Wednesday after web users noticed a naked man in the background of an advertising photo published on the children's section of its website.

"/> One of France's best-known mail order catalogues apologised on Wednesday after web users noticed a naked man in the background of an advertising photo published on the children's section of its website.

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Mail order catalogue’s naked man goes viral

One of France's best-known mail order catalogues apologised on Wednesday after web users noticed a naked man in the background of an advertising photo published on the children's section of its website.

Mail order catalogue's naked man goes viral
Screenshot

The photo of four young children with their arms around each other running on the beach while a naked man walked serenely through the sea behind them was removed from the site but has since gone viral on the Internet.

“La Redoute has withdrawn the photo in question from its website, it has posted apologies on Facebook and Twitter,” an unnamed spokeswoman told AFP.

“An internal enquiry has also been opened to determine how the error happened,” she said.

A message on La Redoute’s Facebook page said the company “apologises for the photo published on its site and is doing what’s necessary to remove it”.

“We’re aware that this may have offended some web users,” La Redoute said, promising to “reinforce the validation process for all marketing so that this does not happen again”.

Comments on La Redoute’s Facebook page ranged from “to err is human” to accusations of “a marketing coup by La Redoute’s web team ahead of the winter sales”.

Web users meanwhile used the site’s magnifying glass function to extract a high-resolution image of the unknown man and paste it into a variety of inventive collages now doing the rounds on the Internet.

The naked man can be seen alongside a holidaying President Nicolas Sarkozy, behind the first men on the Moon, fighting Darth Vader or wearing the face of scandal-hit former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

La Redoute has a reputation for being web-savvy. However, it has been the target of Internet mockery before after selling a kids’ T-shirt emblazoned with the incorrectly spelled “Enjoy HolyDays”.


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OFFBEAT

France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.

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