Spirit Airlines Pulls Ad Spoofing Secret Service Colombian Prostitution Scandal

Colombian-Americans say the scandal is embarassing, but Colombia's reputation has not been tarnished

By Donna Rapado
|  Friday, Apr 20, 2012  |  Updated 11:24 PM EDT
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Miramar-based Spirit Airlines issued an apology and pulled a racy ad spoofing the Secret Service Colombian prostitution scandal that many people found offensive. Activist Fabio Andrade was one of them.

Miramar-based Spirit Airlines issued an apology and pulled a racy ad spoofing the Secret Service Colombian prostitution scandal that many people found offensive. Activist Fabio Andrade was one of them. "The airlines are working very hard to bring tourism to our country, and to do this is denigrating," he said. Several Colombian-American women told NBC 6 the scandal is embarrassing, but Colombia is not the one with the tarnished reputation in this case.

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Miramar-based Spirit Airlines issued an apology and pulled a racy ad spoofing the Secret Service Colombian prostitution scandal that many people found offensive.

The Secret Service said Friday that three of its agents under investigation for allegations of misconduct in Colombia have resigned, NBC News reported. In all 12 agents have been implicated, including one who was “cleared of serious misconduct” but will still face administrative action, the agency said.

Spirit Airlines’ ad featured women in pink bikinis around an agent implying secrecy and the slogan “More Bang for your Buck” for flights to Cartagena, Colombia – the location of the scandal – as well as other destinations.

At this weekend’s ExpoColombia in Miami, community activists said the businesses and tourism being showcased there is what Colombia is all about, not prostitutes.

“I think it would make anybody angry,” activist Fabio Andrade said. “Colombia’s more than this. We have worked so hard to change the image of Colombia. We have worked so hard for Colombians to come and tourism to come. The airlines are working very hard to bring tourism to our country, and to do this is denigrating. And people are very offended by this.”

Spirit Airlines released a statement saying that at the Colombian government’s request, “Spirit pulled its ad yesterday, and we meant no disrespect to our many friends and valued customers.”

The airlines flies from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to four cities in Colombia.

Several Colombian-American women told NBC 6 the scandal is embarrassing, but Colombia is not the one with the tarnished reputation in this case.

“I just think it’s an embarrassment for the United States agency. That’s who is guilty. Not anybody else,” Martha Yepes said.

Myriam Hernandez noted that every country has prostitutes, “not just in Colombia. It’s everywhere.”

“I don’t think it reflects badly,” said Lauren Santa Cruz. “I just think people need something to talk about, and this is just something that’s happened.”

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