The low-cost vacation planner VoucherDigg has landed in hot water after using an image missing child Madeleine McCann to advertise a travel deal.
In 2007, 3-year-old McCann disappeared while on vacation with her family in Portugal. One of the vacation deals offered by Voucherdigg was a family apartment some 35 miles from the resort where McCann vanished.
Clarence Mitchell, the spokesman for Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said that they were "horrified" over the ad and considered it "offensive in the extreme," according to Sky News. Mitchell added, "That is the last picture of Madeleine that was taken on the holiday in 2007 just before she was taken, and for someone to use it -- as some sort of sick joke it would appear -- advertising holidays to Portugal of all places, is just appalling. There is no excuse for it."
The now expired deal was featured on VoucherDigg.co.uk and offered £20 (roughly $32) off bookings on at least £400 ($646) spent on lowcostholidays.com, the BBC reports.
Lowcostholidays.com said that it had no contract with VoucherDigg and has been trying to get the image removed, adding that VoucherDigg is a company that "picked up deals and offers via an affiliate network" and had "previously featured holidays from lowcostholidays.com as well as many other well known holiday companies."
Lawrence Hunt, the CEO of lowcostholidays.com said in a statement to the BBC: "We have no contract with VoucherDigg to advertise our holidays and we are doing all that we can to contact the website and get the picture removed. We discovered this vile material yesterday and immediately broke all the [web] links to our site and contacted our lawyers. We apologize for any distress this may have caused which is completely beyond our control and are disgusted by the use of this image."