A San Antonio, Texas mattress store will be closed “indefinitely” after a commercial it posted on social media promoting a “Twin Tower sale” days before the 15th anniversary of 9/11 ignited a firestorm of criticism.
“We will be silent through the 9/11 Anniversary to avoid any further distractions from a day of recognition and remembrance for the victims and their families,” the owner of Miracle Mattress, Mike Bonanno, said in a statement posted on the store’s Facebook page on Friday.
Employees of the store had also received several death threats after the 20-second spot was released.
The offending ad for Miracle Mattress starts with San Antonio branch store manager Cherise Bonanno — Mike Bonanno’s daughter — asking “What better way to remember 9/11 than with a Twin Tower sale?” and ends with two employees falling backwards onto two piles of mattresses with an American flag in between them.
Cherise Bonanno gasps in horror as her coworkers and the mattresses topple over. She then turns to the camera and says: “We’ll never forget.”
Cherise Bonanno told San Antonio’s NBC affiliate the ad was a mistake.
“We are not hate, we are love. We are somebody that stands out. We’re Miracle Mattress, we make miracles happen. For our lives to be in danger, that’s no what we ever wanted,” she said.
Mike Bonanno claimed the video was made without his knowledge. He told the San Antonio station WOAI that they would donate 30 percent of its sales over weekend to the 9/11 Foundation before deciding to indefinitely shutter the store.
“Our intentions were not to hurt anyone at all,” he said in a statement. “Our staff is full of military and some relatives have passed away due to 9/11. We are promoters of peace and love. We have given abundantly to our community here in San Antonio and wish to remain known as a company who respects and loves others. We hope you find it in your hearts to forgive us. Please accept our apology.”
However, their apology was not well-received.
“How utterly disgusting! Apology NOT accepted! I hope you go out of business. How any one could think this was funny is beyond me. There is no excuse for this! We will never forget that horrible day! The pain of that day and the loss of loved ones will always be with us . How sick !!!” one Facebook user wrote on the store’s page.
“Too bad you can’t apologize to the men and woman that died on 9/11,” wrote another.
“When you say you are sorry that we offended you… You aren’t actually apologizing for the act. You’re apologizing because we somehow took it the wrong way,” another added. “There is no other way to take this than as exploitive (sic), as disgusting, as profiteering on a national tragedy. A tragedy, may I remind you, that not only affected Americans but the entire world. A tragedy that changed our way of viewing the world permanently.”