The producers of "Diana," the new biopic starring Naomi Watts, have been dealing with more than a little bad PR recently. The film's first reviews were punishingly negative, and Dr. Hasnat Khan, Diana's lover who is played by Naveen Andrews (of "Lost"), has been strongly and openly critical of the movie.
But even the film's most adamant defenders must be cringing over this: A four-foot by six-foot poster adorns a placard by the Pont de l'Alma overpass, right next to the entrance to the tunnel where Diana lost her life in an auto accident in 1997.
Even worse, the poster was just a few yards from the "Flame of Liberty" sculpture that has become a meeting place for admirers of the late Princess who've come to pay their respects.
JCDecaux, the French ad agency responsible for the posting, says they received no complaints about the ad, but media members have had plenty to say.
A story in the London Daily Mail described reaction to the poster as "outrage," and quoted one of Diana's close friends, who made no secret of her anger.
Rosa Monckton, who did charity work with Diana, told the Mail, "I really don't have any words to describe how I feel about this cynical and shameless attempt to publicize a film that should never have been made. To have made a film so speculative and as this is disgusting enough, but to then advertise it on the spot at which she died is despicable."
The Daily Beast led their story on the controversy by saying, "Having already been slated for being as bad as a film can get, the makers of the Diana movie now appear to be out for the award of 'crassest advertising campaign ever.'"
And E! News said, with understatement, "This definitely isn't the most sensitive marketing ploy we've ever seen."
After the British press and various social media sites began circulating photos of the offending poster, Le Pacte, French distributor for "Diana," quickly arranged for the ad to be taken down, saying the placement was an unfortunate coincidence.
However, with many viewers in England already skeptical about "Diana," this small tempest isn't likely to help the film's already shaky reputation.
"Diana" is currently playing in theaters in the UK, is set to open in France on Wednesday, and it will open in the U.S. on November 1.
Watch 'Diana' Theatrical Trailer: