French firm La Redoute sorry for naked man photo

La Redoute naked man photo - screen grab La Redoute wants to know why the naked man was not spotted before publication

A French fashion retailer has apologised for a photo in which a naked man appeared behind a group of children advertising beachwear - but the image has gone viral on the internet.

In a tweet La Redoute said that it "apologises for the photo published on its site and is doing what's necessary to remove it".

But montages appeared on the internet showing the naked man in some iconic images, such as the Moon landing.

The nudist has not been identified.

In one of the spoof images the face of the disgraced former International Monetary Fund chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was pasted onto the naked man.

La Redoute is one of France's biggest mail-order retailers.

A spokeswoman for La Redoute, quoted by the AFP news agency, said an internal inquiry had been launched to determine how the error had happened.

The error was compounded by the fact that La Redoute provided a magnifying glass so that people could examine the beachwear close-up.

Some tweeters remarked that the "bad buzz" surrounding the photo was actually useful publicity for La Redoute.

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