Offensive Christmas Sign Featuring Caitlyn Jenner Sparks Outrage

"They shouldn't be mocking a marginalized sector of society."

03/12/2015 8:08 PM AEDT | Updated 03/12/2015 8:08 PM AEDT

A New Zealand advertising company is apologizing after putting up a billboard that made a transphobic joke about Caitlyn Jenner.

"I hope your sack is fuller than mine this Christmas," said the billboard from Cranium Signage, which featured the Vanity Fair cover of Jenner, Photoshopped to include a Santa hat:

Rebecca Jones, mother of a nine-year-old transgender boy, told Stuff.co.nz that the billboard in East Tamaki, just outside Auckland, was "absolutely disgusting." 

"Transgender suicide rates are extremely high," she said. "If they had put a racist board up, would they have got away with it? They shouldn't be mocking a marginalized sector of society."

Jesse Evenblij told the New Zealand Herald that the billboard was "seriously horrible."

"The company should be ashamed," she said. "People just have no clue how Caitlyn has literally saved lives by making transgender 'normal.' Young people can look up to Caitlyn and realize they aren't alone."

The company has apologized several times, and made a $1,000 donation to Rainbow Youth, an organization that supports LGBT youth. However, some of those who were offended by the sign say the company's immediate reaction was a little less respectful.

According to a screengrab posted online by Jones, Cranium Signage owner Phillip Garratt apologized to one person who complained -- but then added: "I think you may need to take a look at yourself and relax a bit and not take life so seriously. I was referring to a santa sack, your sick mind is the problem."

The replacement for the Jenner sign also didn't exactly seem contrite:

However, after more complaints, the company issued a much stronger apology.

"I as the owner have no feelings of discrimination to the Gay or transgender community and if one of my family was I would love them just the same," he wrote on Facebook. "Cait is more then welcome to stay at my house with my family anytime. I will have a wine or a beer with her quite happily and it would be an honor."

He told Gaynz.com that there was no malice and that it was "basically one of those 'when humor goes horribly wrong' situations." 


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