Three men who tried to promote their bar on Facebook by uploading a fun picture of a Buddha wearing headphones get to spend the next two-and-a-half years locked in a Burmese prison, all thanks to their marketing plan.
The relatively innocuous picture outraged hard-line Buddhists, and the bar immediately pulled the ad, apologizing for any "ignorance" on its part. But it wasn't enough for local officials: three employees—the bar's owner, manager, and general manager—were convicted Tuesday on charges of denigrating Buddhism. The New York Times reports:
The image was posted in December on the Facebook page of the VGastro bar and restaurant in Yangon. After an outcry from hard-line Buddhist groups, the police arrested the restaurant's general manager, Philip Blackwood, 32, of New Zealand, along with the bar owner, U Tun Thurein, 40, and the manager, U Htut Ko Ko Lwin, 26. The three have been held in Insein prison in Yangon.
In addition to the two-year prison term for violating the religion act, the three were also sentenced to six months for illegally operating a bar after 10 p.m. Mr. Blackwood said after the verdict that the men had expected they would be convicted.