AT&T, Marriott, others apologize for tacky and outrageous 9/11 tie-ins

Dylan Stableford

Sept. 11 has become an annual day of reflection, as people around the world pause to remember the 9/11 terror attacks. It's also become a perennial day of apology for ill-conceived attempts to honor the victims. And Wednesday was no different.

AT&T was forced to apologize for a photo it published on Twitter and Facebook showing the World Trade Center memorial lights through an AT&T-enabled smartphone with the message, "Never Forget."

"We apologize to anyone who felt our post was in poor taste," the company said in a statement posted to Twitter after deleting the photo. "The image was solely meant to pay respect to those affected by the 9/11 tragedy."

The image, however, remained for a while on Facebook, where some users expressed their displeasure.

"Tasteless," one user wrote.

"Shame on you, AT&T," wrote another.

Others, though, didn't understand all the fuss. "They are a wireless sales company," Brian Barlow wrote. "I don't find it tasteless. A lot of companies are posting in their own way. Give them a break."

AT&T wasn't alone in being accused of tackiness on Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Lakers published a vintage photo of guard Kobe Bryant on Twitter overlayed with the hashtag #NeverForget. In the photo, taken in 2001, Bryant was wearing a patch on his jersey commemorating the attacks on the World Trade Center. But some mistook the message as the team urging users to remember a younger Bryant.

The team later deleted the post.

Social media wasn't the only place for ill-advised attempts at commemorating 9/11. A Twitter user posted a photo, taken at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley hotel, of a wildly tone-deaf gesture.

"In remembrance of those we lost on 9/11," a sign in the lobby read, "the hotel will provide complimentary coffee and mini muffins from 8:45 - 9:15 a.m."

"We apologize and understand why some people may have misunderstood the intent of the offer," Marriott Hotels said in a statement. "We are reminding our hotels to use discretion and be sensitive when remembering major events such as 9/11."

In Boston, officials at Logan International Airport apologized for holding a fire drill, "complete with smoke and flames," on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Massachusetts Port Authority issued a statement apologizing "for conducting the fire training exercise and understands that it may have offended many of those touched by the events of Sept. 11." The two hijacked jets that were flown into the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 flew out of Logan.

"How clueless and insensitive can you be," one woman wrote on the airport's Facebook page.

Esquire magazine, meanwhile, said it accidentally published a photo of a World Trade Center victim falling from the building on its website adjacent to the wrong copy:

Making Your Morning Commute More Stylish
Look good on your way to work

The magazine pulled the package, and issued a rather terse apology:

Earlier this week, a golf course in Wisconsin came under fire for offering nine holes (with cart) for $9.11 on Sept. 11. (Want to go 18 holes? That'll run you $19.11.)

The golf course issued an apology on its Facebook page, pledging to honor the advertised rates as well as donate a portion of its sales to the 9/11 Memorial. "We are a family owned business & proudly support all local charities and have always [given] 20% off everyday to all Police, Fire, Emergency, Military, etc," Tumbledown Trails wrote on Facebook. "Please accept our apology."

Natasha's Equine Clipping Spa, thankfully, did not offer a Sept. 11th-themed discount to honor the victims. Instead, the Long Island-based service shaved an image of the World Trade Center towers into a horse's rear end and posted the tribute to its Facebook page.