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It's not uncommon for businesses to use Martin Luther King Day for a number of promotions. But the decision to use the Civil Rights leader's image on a strip club flyer has caused widespread outrage, demanding an apology from the Miami Beach graphic designer.
Jeffrey Darnell Paul, owner of South Side Graphix, designed a flyer for a local strip club's "I Have a Dream Bash" that featured an image of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holding a wad of cash with scantily clad women in the background, NBC Miami reports. The image, which was eventually shared on the Internet, angered a number of people. But Paul said he did not initially realize the flyer was offensive.
"What was I thinking? Promotion," Paul told NBC Miami. "It was proposed to me like a birthday bash for Martin Luther King, I put a flyer together without thinking about the effects it would have."
Paul said he received phone calls from people all over the country concerning the flyer and said he didn't intend to be controversial.
"I wasn't trying to disrespect anybody," he said. "It was just supposed to be a promotional thing, it wasn't about disgracing Martin Luther King, it wasn't about that."
The event, which was originally scheduled to be held at The Office strip club on King's birthday, was canceled once the controversy was sparked. The strip club's management said they were unaware of what the flyer looked like until after the backlash, and decided to distance themselves from the promotional efforts.
"This is the owner's first time seeing it," manager Jermaine Robinson told the news network. "So we don't condone this. This is Martin Luther King. We respect what he did. Today is the day for us to honor him."
Paul, who is also known as DJ Big Boy, spoke about the negative feedback he's been receiving since the incident after posting the link to the NBC story on his Facebook page.
The Ignorance Doesn't Bother Me.......Just shows how people carry themselves.......And Yes I'm a Graphic Designer. Hate will get you Nowhere........
Despite the criticism, he told the news outlet that he takes full blame for the mistake.
"I apologize about it, I'm taking full responsibility," he said. "I wish it could have gone down a different way but I'm learning from it and trust me, I'm not going down that route again."