A satirical Middle East website has issued a tongue-in-cheek apology to Bell Pottinger for an article that claimed the UK PR giant had taken on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a client.
The Pan-Arabia Enquirer on Aug. 24 published a brief piece (since removed), "PR Giant Bell Pottinger lands $10 million Islamic State account," claiming that the firm announced it will "oversee and promote the jihadist group's growing international image." It quoted a BP spokesman as saying, " We’ve been closely watching ISIS transform into the Islamic State and are now delighted to reveal that we’ll be able to use our expertise to help steer this engaging and fast-moving brand onto the next stage of its exciting journey."
The Enquirer posted an apology on Facebook on Aug. 26 (also since removed), noting it took down the Bell Pottinger article after a complaint. "Following on from this, we would like to offer our apologies to PR firm Bell Pottinger for a satirical story that suggested it had won the account to represent the Islamic State," the statement read. "Although the article was entirely in jest, we feel we must apologise for any sullying of the name of a company whose standing in the international community is reflected in a client list that has included the likes of Augusto Pinochet and the government of Bahrain. Oh, and the government of Sri Lanka. And [convicted child sex abuser] Rolf Harris."
The Enquirer's website says its stories are "made up," adding, "If you're absolutely outraged by something we've written, do drop us a grammatically questionable message … and we'll see if we can come to some sort of arrangement…"
Recent headlines from the Enquirer include "UAE to Host World's Most Expensive Ice Bucket Challenge," "Israel Says US Has Right to Defend Itself Against Unarmed Black Teenagers," and "Exploding Anchorman Causes PR Disaster for Al Jazeera America."