An embarrassed PR firm has apologised for using the downfall of Rolf Harris to promote an art exhibition.
The Australian company implied that, now Rolf Harris is a disgraced paedophile whose crimes robbed his victims of their "childhood innocence", the artist Pro Hart had become "the only great household Australian name left".
The release said: “Since the scandal of Rolph (sic) Harris there is only one other great Australian household name left — Pro Hart — and he’s having the last ever sale of his private art collection!”
The release was sent out earlier this week, after Harris was convicted of 12 counts of indecent assault but before he was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for it.
In a grovelling apology, Dora Nikols, from the AC Agency, acknowledged it was "in poor taste", industry website Mumbrella reported.
She wrote: “This morning I sent out an email pitch referring to the recent scandal surrounding Rolf Harris in an effort to draw attention to a much loved household name – Pro Hart.
“I would like to deeply apologise for using a story angle that I now realise was in poor taste and deeply regret offending anyone. This angle was in response to an article we had published in Crikey that referred to the disgraced Australian which I should never have used.
“Please accept my deep apology and an updated pitch below about the last ever auction of Pro Hart’s work and an interview opportunity with Australian art historian Gavin Fry. My sincere apologies, Dora.”
Largely unknown outside Australia, Hart was an artist famous for his paintings of scenes of rural life. He died in 2006.