Robins Air Force Base in Georgia has taken down a poster advertising a “Fun Shoot” that was scheduled for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and officials have apologized for the planned event.
This year, the federal holiday commemorating the civil rights leader’s birthday falls on Monday, Jan. 18. King was shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.
“We’re deeply sorry for any offense or harm caused by our insensitivity and failure to provide appropriate oversight of our marketing process,” said Robins spokesman Roland Leach, in a statement emailed to the Air Force Times.
“The flyer does not represent the values, opinions or views of the Department of Defense, the Air Force or Robins Air Force Base leadership and its employees.”
Leach said the officials realized the advertisement was inappropriate.
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) January 14, 2016
“There was no malice of forethought in the flyer’s creation and it was never the base’s intention to portray Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a negative light,” Leach said. “It was an honest mistake, to which we’ve personally counseled the parties involved and will provide them with remedial training and appropriate oversight to prevent this sort of inattention from occurring in the future.”
The 78th Force Support Squadron at Robins scheduled the trap, skeet, and sporting clay shooting event.
The event is still scheduled, but any link to MLK has been removed.
Many people were offended by the advertisement.
Rutha Jackson, president of the Houston County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told the Macon Times that the flier was “like a piece of hate mail” to her.
“It really bothered me that they would take the initiative to use Dr. King’s photo on a gun shoot,” she said. “It sends a message which I think is very offensive.”