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‘KKK’ flag mishap messes up Swedish pump makeover

The chain of petrol stations formerly known as Statoil proudly displayed its new flags this week, until a passer-by spotted an unfortunate gaffe.

'KKK' flag mishap messes up Swedish pump makeover
Uh oh! New Circle K flags at the Länna service station. Photo: Alexander Lindell/TT

As The Local reported on Wednesday, Statoil’s stations in Sweden are in the process of being rebranded as Circle K. 

And everything was going according to plan until a 17-year-old Swede saw three new Circle K flags in a row and “immediately thought of the Ku Klux Klan”, he told newspaper Aftonbladet. 

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A picture he took of the petrol station caused much hilarity on the hugely popular Imgur picture-sharing site and on Reddit, where it was posted under the title: 

“Somebody clearly didn’t think this through…”

“Or they did,” replied one mischief maker. 

Another user elicited belly laughs with the comment: 

I can only imagine the call from corporate?

“How many K flags are you flying, Sven?”

“Six, sir. 3 on each side.”

“So you have three K flags hanging in a row?”

“… I gotta go, sir. “

Circle K’s spokesman Johan Backman said he was aware the flags’ meaning could be misconstrued. 

“We’re going to change how we flag to avoid interpretations,” he told the Nyheter 24 news site. 

The company acted fast, and Reddit readers were soon treated to what appeared to be an old Statoil flag flanked by a pair of Circle Ks.  

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Circle K hopes the rebrand will make women and young people think more about tasty roadside treats and less about North Sea oil fields. And, of course, it wants them not to think even for a second about an American racist hood-wearing sect. 

OFFBEAT

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
 
 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
 
 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
 
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
 
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland
 
 
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