A British magazine has apologised after tastelessly copying an iconic front page tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
The cover of Bath Magazine’s February issue features dozens of running shoes arranged in a heart shape to promote the Somerset city’s upcoming half marathon.
But the design is nearly identical to one used by the Boston Magazine to honour the three people killed and more than 250 injured when the US race was targeted by terrorists.
The cover – which featured real trainers used by runners in the doomed race – raised more than $125,000 for those injured by the atrocity last year.
Boston Magazine editor Carly Carioli is now demanding its Bath counterpart make a “significant donation” to the fund.
In a scathing web message to the Bath Magazine, she said: “Last spring, as we tried to figure out how best to honor the resilience of our city in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, we asked runners to lend us the shoes they wore in the race.
“In turn, their shoes, and the cover we produced, helped us to raise over $125,000 for the One Fund, the charity established here to benefit those affected by the bombing.
“You liked the shoes cover so much that you borrowed (others have used less charitable phrases) the concept for your February issue on the half marathon in Bath.
“We can’t speak for the dozens of runners who donated their shoes to us for that image.
“We can’t speak for the runners who are preparing to run this April.
“But we hope that if you were so bold as to borrow our idea, you will also borrow the spirit of that cover – and make a significant donation to the One Fund in the name of those who were unable to finish the race.”
The Bath Magazine tweeted an apology – but did not say whether it would make a donation to the fund.
A message sent on Tuesday said: “We would like to make an unreserved apology for any upset or offence caused by our latest cover. This was clearly not our intention.
“We are truly sorry and embarrassed for what has happened. We shall be looking into this immediately and post a full apology in due course.”
Americans took to Twitter to slam the stunt.
Sarah Dugan from Massachusetts said: “What an amazingly insensitive ‘apology’ I hope Mitch Feinberg [the photographer] holds you accountable for copyright infringement.”
Si Rosenbaum from Boston tweeted the Bath organisers and said: “Hey Bath, who died in your marathon?”
Responding to the online backlash, the magazine tweeted added: “We don’t mean to bring up bad memories, just supporting our runners in Bath.”
But it only served to provoke outrage from one Boston resident who said: “Boston Marathon killed three people and injured at least 264. ‘Bad memories’? Are you KIDDING ME?”
Si Rosenbaum replied: “By ripping off a cover we made to honor the victims of the marathon bombing? Nice one.”
Condemnation was echoed on this side of the Atlantic by John Maggs, from Bristol, who said: “It’s inappropriate to copy a tribute to people who have died to advertise tourism.”
Gus Hoyt from Bristol added: “Will the Bath Magazine now face a boycott similar to Liverpool’s boycott of The Sun? For a cover and ‘justification’ like that, it’s due.”