PETALING JAYA - The newly opened Hard Rock Cafe Kota Kinabalu has apologised for using an orang utan playing the electric guitar in its promotional banners and bunting following an uproar among animal lovers and activists.
"We sincerely apologise to those who have been offended by recent advertisements for the new Hard Rock Cafe Kota Kinabalu.
"We have removed the bunting and are working with Hard Rock International and local councillors to ensure that all future advertisements are culturally sensitive," it said in a statement here yesterday.
The banners to promote the restaurant, which opened just weeks ago, had drawn criticism on social media, even from those in Australia. Angry users also left comments on the restaurant's Facebook page.
Sabah Wildlife Department director William Baya said the operator had sought its opinion about using such an image for the promotional posters before getting them printed.
In Kota Kinabalu, Hard Rock Cafe has taken down the posters at the restaurant chain's first outlet in Sabah.
While some were riled by the posters, others found it a non-issue, saying that the pictures and bunting were fine.
They argued that having animals in zoos perform for visitors was an even bigger form of exploitation.