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Nazi-inspired TV ads removed from NYC subway

New York's transit service has pulled advertisements for Amazon TV program "The Man in the High Castle" following intense backlash. The ads featured stylized American flags with Nazi symbolism.

Amazon.com Inc has pulled controversial advertisements for its new series "The Man in the High Castle" from New York City subways following intervention by Governor Andrew Cuomo, a spokesman for the city's Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) said late on Tuesday.

The ads took over an entire subway car - with seats decorated either with a stylized American flag with a German eagle and Iron cross, or a version of the imperial Japanese flag. Based on the 1962 Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, "The Man in the High Castle" takes place in a dystopian 1960s United States where the Axis powers won World War II and now occupy much of the country.

Many New Yorkers were outraged at the ads, running on the busy shuttle between Grand Central Terminal and Times Square:

Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted the "irresponsible and offensive" subway redecoration, while the Anti-Defamation League said that since many travelers would be unaware of "The Man in the High Castle," without "context as to what it means" the ads were simply "viscerally offensive."

MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said the offending train was briefly taken out of circulation late on Tuesday so that the ads could be removed. Although one MTA official said the company itself had asked for the ad to be pulled, an Amazon.com representative contradicted that claim.

Show creator Frank Spotnitz told Entertainment Weekly that he understood why the ads were offensive.

"It's very difficult with a show with subject matter like this to market it tastefully," he told the magazine. "If they had asked me, I would have strongly advised them not to do it."

Amazon itself did not directly address the controversy, though it did release a statement saying that the series was part of its lineup of "high-quality, provocative programming that spurs conversation."

es/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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