Next pulls 'offensive' Christmas jumper after Lockerbie backlash

By John Mercury December 12, 2023

Next has pulled a Pan Am-themed Christmas jumper from its website after complaints it was causing offence to those affected by the Lockerbie tragedy.

It was removed by the retailer after a petition was launched branding the £36 item “offensive and disrespectful” to those affected by the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town on 21 December 1988.

A total of 270 people were killed – 259 passengers and crew and 11 local residents – when a bomb exploded on the Boeing 747 during its flight from London to New York.

The bombing – which will mark its 35th anniversary next week – remains the UK’s worst terrorist attack.

Next apologised for the jumper. A spokesperson for the firm said: “In response to customer contact, Next removed the ‘All + Every’ third-party branded items from its marketplace over the weekend. We apologise for any upset caused.”

It added it is not a NEXT own-branded item, so was never available for purchase in any of its stores.

BLACK AND WHITE ONLY: File photo dated 22/12/88 of the wrecked nose section of the Pan-Am Boeing 747 in Lockerbie, near Dumfries.
Image:
The Lockerbie bombing remains the UK’s worst terrorist attack

The petition, started by Phil Geddes on Change.org, received 1,548 signatures.

Mr Geddes, who was a Lockerbie resident at the time of the bombing and still lives in the town, said in his petition: “This item, in its design or message, is offensive and disrespectful to those affected by this tragic event.

“The Lockerbie bombing was one of the deadliest acts of terrorism in history, claiming 270 lives.

“The pain and trauma it caused are still felt today by countless individuals around the world.

“To see a product that makes light of such a tragedy or uses it for commercial gain is not only insensitive but also deeply hurtful.”

Read more from Sky News:
Father’s search for truth after daughter killed in Britain’s deadliest terror attack

Many of those who signed the petition agreed the jumper was “disrespectful”.

Gordon McCulloch wrote: “As the 35th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie is marked on 21 December 2023, it is unbelievably insensitive and thoughtless to link Pan Am and the festive season in this way.

“Crass and disgusting – Next and the original manufacturer should be utterly ashamed.”

Following the removal of the jumper from Next’s website, Mr Geddes thanked all those who supported his campaign.

But he added: “I was majorly disappointed that it was for sale in the first instance, being a longstanding Next customer.”

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