Eyewear company faces calls for boycott after filming ad at World War II concentration camp

Customers are threatening to boycott the Australian-based company Valley Eyewear for filming and ad on the grounds of the Jasenovac concentration camp where more than 83,000 people were murdered.

The firm apologized on Tuesday for the black and white video — that has since been taken down – which shows a couple donning the brand’s sunglasses and strolling around monuments erected to honor the dead.

The Yugoslav-era memorials in what is now modern-day Croatia were designed by architect Bogdan Bogdanovic in 1966 to commemorate the more than 83,000 Serbs, Jews and others (though, some historians argue this figure is likely much greater) who were slaughtered by the Ustasha fascist regime between 1941 and 1945. The government aligned itself with Nazi Germany during World War II and has been held responsible for the deaths of over 20,000 children.

Valley eyewear said that the ad for its “Black” line of shades was “filmed on location in Croatia at one of World War II's most historic and darkest locations. JASENOVAC," according to USA Today “(The ad was filmed) in memory of the tens of thousands of people that perished at the site.”

RELATED: Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018

25 PHOTOS
Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018
See Gallery
Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018
March of The Living participants with Israeli (Israel) flags are seen in Auschwitz I Death Camp in Oswiecim, Poland on 12 April 2018 Taking place annually on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
An original yellow star (not on general display) is seen at the artifacts department of the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, ahead of the Israeli annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 10, 2018. Picture taken April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Drivers stop and stand in silence on a street in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on April 12, 2017 as sirens wailed across Israel for two minutes marking the annual day of remembrance for the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. Israel began marking Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day at sundown on April 11 with a ceremony at the Yad Vashem memorial museum in Jerusalem, which commemorates the Jews killed by the Nazi regime during World War II. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lays a wreath during a ceremony marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, April 12, 2018. Debbie Hill/Pool via Reuters
A group of Israeli soldiers visits the Hall of Names in the Holocaust History Museum at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem ahead of the Israeli annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 10, 2018. Picture taken April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Israeli soldiers stand guard during a ceremony marking the annual Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Debbie Hill/Pool via Reuters
Young orthodox Jews sits in front of the gate to Birkenau during the 'March of the Living', a yearly Holocaust remembrance march between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, on April 12, 2018 in Oswiecim (Auschwitz), Poland. Held for the 30th time, organisers say the annual March of the Living is the world's largest single Holocaust memorial event. Thousands of young Jews from more than 40 nations marched alongside a handful of Holocaust survivors and Polish teenagers in homage to the victims of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau WWII death camp in southern Poland. / AFP PHOTO / JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
An original prisoner's coat (not on general display) is seen at the artifacts department of the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, ahead of the Israeli annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 10, 2018. Picture taken April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
A youth sits along the railway during the 'March of the Living', a yearly Holocaust remembrance march between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, on April 12, 2018 in Oswiecim (Auschwitz), Poland. Held for the 30th time, organisers say the annual March of the Living is the world's largest single Holocaust memorial event. Thousands of young Jews from more than 40 nations marched alongside a handful of Holocaust survivors and Polish teenagers in homage to the victims of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau WWII death camp in southern Poland. / AFP PHOTO / JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
March of The Living participants with Israeli (Israel) flags are seen in Auschwitz I Death Camp in Oswiecim, Poland on 12 April 2018 Taking place annually on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Original artifacts not on general display are seen at the artifacts department of the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, ahead of the Israeli annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 10, 2018. Picture taken April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
March of The Living participants with Israeli (Israel) flags are seen in Auschwitz I Death Camp in Oswiecim, Poland on 12 April 2018 Taking place annually on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
An album containing photographs and signatures of Jews from the Jewish community of Kavala in Greece, before most were killed in the Treblinka extermination camp, as well as other original documents are seen in the archive of the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, ahead of the Israeli annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 9, 2018. Picture taken April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Drivers stop and stand in silence on a highway in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on April 12, 2017 as sirens wailed across Israel for two minutes marking the annual day of remembrance for the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. Israel began marking Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day at sundown on April 11 with a ceremony at the Yad Vashem memorial museum in Jerusalem, which commemorates the Jews killed by the Nazi regime during World War II. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
March of The Living participants with Israeli (Israel) flags are seen in Auschwitz I Death Camp in Oswiecim, Poland on 12 April 2018 Taking place annually on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Messages are left by visitors on the railway during the 'March of the Living', a yearly Holocaust remembrance march between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, on April 12, 2018 in Oswiecim (Auschwitz), Poland. Held for the 30th time, organisers say the annual March of the Living is the world's largest single Holocaust memorial event. Thousands of young Jews from more than 40 nations marched alongside a handful of Holocaust survivors and Polish teenagers in homage to the victims of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau WWII death camp in southern Poland. / AFP PHOTO / JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Reuven Rivlin President of Israel and Andrzej Duda President of Poland are seen in Auschwitz I Death Camp in Oswiecim, Poland on 12 April 2018 Taking place annually on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Reuven Rivlin President of Israel and Andrzej Duda President of Poland are seen in Auschwitz I Death Camp in Oswiecim, Poland on 12 April 2018 Taking place annually on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Drivers stop and stand in silence on a street in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on April 12, 2017 as sirens wailed across Israel for two minutes marking the annual day of remembrance for the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
(L-R) Chairman of Yad Vashem, Avner Shalev, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein attend a ceremony marking the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on April 12, 2018. Israelis came to a halt throughout the country to observe two minutes of solemn silence as a siren blared, marking the annual remembrance of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. / AFP PHOTO / DEBBIE HILL (Photo credit should read DEBBIE HILL/AFP/Getty Images)
The Arbeit Macht Frei inscription shadow is seen in Auschwitz I Death Camp in Oswiecim, Poland on 12 April 2018 Taking place annually on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
People stop and stand in silence on a Jerusalem's downtown street on April 12, 2018, as sirens wailed across Israel for two minutes marking the annual day of remembrance for the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. / AFP PHOTO / Menahem KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Jews from Korea and USA with Israel and United States of America flags are seen in Auschwitz - Birkenau Death Camp in Brzezinka, Poland on 11 April 2018 Taking place annually on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Birkenau death camp area is seen in Auschwitz - Birkenau Death Camp in Brzezinka, Poland on 11 April 2018 Taking place annually on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The Death Wall in the Auschwitz Death Camp is seen in Auschwitz I Death Camp in Oswiecim, Poland on 11 April 2018 Taking place annually on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day - The March of the Living itself is a 3-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau as a tribute to all victims of the Holocaust. (Photo by Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The director of the Jasenovac Memorial, Ivo Pejakovic, said that the area has guards and that filming on the grounds is permitted but that those who work there are not responsible for ascertaining each individual’s intent when a camera is involved.

"We don't have any fences, walls or barriers, and of course you could record inside the site,” Pejakovic told Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti. “There are security guards, but they cannot know who would use the photos and for which purpose."

The company’s founder Michael Crawley said that he and his team wanted to film the “Spomeniks,” or modernist sculptures in the vicinity and apologized further for upsetting anyone with the ad.

"I have been in contact with the head of the Jasenovac memorial and one of the heads of the Jewish community in Australia to send our apologies,” Crawley wrote for German news site, Deutsche Welle. “(The ad was pulled) since some images have offended people which was NEVER what we had wanted in a million years."

But many on social media have still slammed Valley Eyewear, some asking if the company even knows “what the Holocaust is.”

Read Full Story