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February 02, 1995| Times Staff and Wire Reports

Benetton Told to Pay HIV Victims: A Paris court ordered Italian clothing giant Benetton to pay $32,000 in damages to HIV victims over an advertising campaign showing parts of the human body tattooed with the words HIV positive . The court said showing bare human flesh with inscriptions recalling the deadly AIDS disease "evoked Nazi barbarity or meat marking." It said the theme of the advertising campaign was an abuse of the freedom of expression and a "provocative exploitation of suffering." Three people contaminated with the HIV virus and an association of AIDS protesters had sued Benetton, arguing that the advertising campaign was offensive to AIDS sufferers. Lawyers for Benetton and United Colours of Benetton Communication said the group was entitled to launch original advertising campaigns based on contemporary issues.

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