Guinness continues St Patrick's campaign despite claims of racism

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: St patrick, Saint patrick's day

Guinness has refused to withdraw its St Patrick's Day marketing campaign despite it being labelled racist.Michael Forde, chairman of the Irish World...

Guinness has refused to withdraw its St Patrick's Day marketing campaign despite it being labelled racist.

Michael Forde, chairman of the Irish World Heritage Centre in Manchester, claimed that St Patrick's Day posters featuring pairs of green feet marked with the letters "L" and "R" on the wrong feet was offensive.

"It is very disappointing that an Irish company such as Guinness is pandering to the thick Paddy image propagated by second rate comedians in the 1990s.

"It implies that Irish people don't know their left from their right and our members are outraged. We thought we'd got rid of this kind of prejudice decades ago."

A boycott by the centre's 1,500 members saw sales of the black stuff fall by 85 per cent from more than 900 pints to a mere 150 a week.

The company has apologised to Mr Forde and his members for any offence caused, but stopped short of calling the feet back in from 20,000 outlets throughout the UK.

A spokesperson for Guinness said: "The green floor sticker feet are intended to keep people on their toes by outlining the steps for a Irish jig - some licensees are even running competitions for the best dance!

"It is regrettable that the stickers caused offence to Mr Forde, but this was never the intention and as it is an isolated complaint we have spoken to him directly to reassure him of that. To date there have been no other complaints from the 20,000 other publicans so we are not planning on pulling the feet. We see them as a great way to drive business."

Mr Forde added: "We have accepted Guinness's apology but I strongly suggest licensees throw the feet in the bin and don't risk offending their customers."

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