What started innocently enough as a giveaway of free soccer tickets to the UEFA Champions League final took a turn for the worse thanks to a handful of online trolls.
Walkers, the snack company that brings the UK its flavored crisps and other treats, started a social media campaign Thursday, asking fans who wanted to win tickets to tweet a selfie with the #WalkersWave hashtag.
The tweets were turned into a video of former soccer player Gary Lineker waving the “selfies” in front of the background of a stadium.
But trolls quickly realized the selfies weren’t being closely vetted before getting on screen, so everyone from serial killers to convicted felons to communist dictators made it onto the site with the sportscaster unwittingly waving the disturbing faces.
The images were also beamed onto big screens in Cardiff city center, according to users on Twitter.
The company put out an apology Thursday and said they had shut down the campaign, while Lineker himself referenced the issue in a tweet.
We recognise people were offended by irresponsible & offensive posts & we apologise. We are equally upset & have shut the activity down.
Walkers Crisps (@walkers_crisps) May 25, 2017
Had an unusual day in some very strange company. I’m sure we’ll wave goodbye to them all by tomorrow.
Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 25, 2017
That doesn’t mean there weren’t screenshots and tweets that show how disastrous the social media stunt became. Some of the videos that made it through included images of serial killer Harold Shipman, accused sexual predator Rolf Harris, and sex offender Jimmy Savile. Another featured Joseph Stalin.
At least the “wave” selfie of former Vice President Joe Biden’s smiling face isn’t as as gruesome as the others.
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