Wal-Mart director resigns after ad draws criticism

BENTONVILLE, AR: A Wal-Mart community affairs director has resigned after the retailer was criticized for running an ad equating an anti-Wal-Mart effort with Nazi book-burning.

BENTONVILLE, AR: A Wal-Mart community affairs director has resigned after the retailer was criticized for running an ad equating an anti-Wal-Mart effort with Nazi book-burning.

Peter Kanelos had been the chain's community affairs director for Arizona and Southern California.

His last day will be Friday June 10, said Daphne Moore, Wal-Mart's director of community affairs. Moore would not discuss why Kanelos resigned or whether Wal-Mart asked him to leave.

His office approved an ad which ran in the May 8 Arizona Daily Sun with a picture from a 1933 Nazis book burning.

Wal-Mart ran the ad as part of a campaign to defeat a local ballot measure that would have restricted the chain's ability to open new stores in Flagstaff. The initiative was defeated at the polls.

Kanelos told the Washington Post via e-mail that he resigned "on mutually agreeable terms" but didn't say whether his resignation was directly connected to the ad.

Wal-Mart opponents were quick to react to his resignation.

Wal-Mart Watch, an anti-Wal-Mart coalition, said the retailer did the right thing by accepting Kanelos' resignation but added in a statement to the media that the ad showed "the level to which Wal-Mart would stoop in its insatiable pursuit of corporate growth."

The group called the ad "another stunning public relations gaffe" by Wal-Mart.

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