Henkel Withdraws Toilet Freshener That Insulted Ukrainians

KIEV — German consumer goods company Henkel has decided to pull a toilet freshener out of Ukraine after the country's nationals said they were offended because the product resembled the Ukrainian national flag.

The Bref Duo Stripes' design included the blue and yellow colors. A television advertizement showed the freshener placed under the toilet rim, but the company said the colors carried a totally different meaning.

"We are sorry if people feel offended by the design of our new Bref Duo Stripes. The color blue, intended to stand for water and hygiene, and the yellow color for lemon scent are common for this type of products," Henkel said on Facebook this week.

"However, we have carefully listened to the comments of our consumers in Ukraine as we listen to our consumers in all countries in which we operate and take their concerns very seriously," the manufacturer said Monday.

"We respect our consumers' feelings and have therefore taken the appropriate steps to immediately discontinue the distribution of the product in its current color design. We have also canceled the respective TV ad. We apologize for any irritation our product may have caused," it said.

Earlier in August, A U.S. musician was banned from entering Ukraine for five years for an incident related to the country's flag. The incident occurred on July 30 in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, when U.S. rock group Bloodhound Gang's bassist Jared Hasselhoff apparently desecrated the Ukrainian flag, according to a YouTube video.

The next day, the bass player also apparently desecrated a Russian flag. Ukrainian authorities have opened criminal cases over both incidents and are investigating them. Russia has also launched a criminal case over the incident with its flag.

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