LONDON, July 17, 2007 -- The publicity team behind "The Simpsons" movie, which premieres in the United Kingdom next week, has taken its marketing campaign to a whole new level — one that has enraged members of the British public.
A 180-foot-tall drawing of Homer Simpson has appeared on a hill in the English countryside, right next to the famed Cerne Abbas Giant, a well-known British landmark.
The Cerne Abbas Giant, a chalk outline of an aroused, club-wielding man dating to at least the 17th century, is a revered symbol of fertility among pagans. It is Britain's largest chalk drawing, carved into the natural chalk rock beneath the turf.
Its new neighbor is Homer Simpson, proudly wielding a doughnut and clad more modestly in an enormous pair of Y-front briefs in the adjacent lush, green field.
The artist of the Homer Simpson giant is Peter Stuart, who was commissioned to create it using biodegradable paint, which will eventually wash away.
Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for the Pagan Federation, told ABC News that Cerne Abbas "is a place people have a lot of affection for. Young girls used to pray at the feet of the figure so they wouldn't become old maids." Now, she said, "they've carved this darn great eyesore."
Today, the site is protected by the National Trust. Because of the site's historical significance, visitors must observe Cerne Abbas from the bottom of the hill.
Many tourists visit each year to see the immense figure. Bryn-Evans said that now, "people who normally go there will stay way away. It's simply cheapened the whole area." She said, "It isn't just pagans who don't like this. People from Ireland and all over have called in today to complain."
"It is very disrespectful. Are they going to use the countryside as a giant billboard?" she said.
Bryn-Evans said she hoped that the rain would wash the Homer Simpson giant away soon but, "it's been raining buckets and the thing's still there."