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Thailand removes Apple, Google logos on royal funeral statue

The artist was forced to erase the logos from the statue of a mythical beast being created for the late king.

The Apple logo is visible on the center of the upper wing of this figure that will serve as a mold for a sculpture for the Thailand's late king.
AFP/Getty Images

A Thai artist's effort to honor the country's late King Bhumibol has sparked public outrage.

Apple, Facebook and Google logos -- which were carved into what will become a statue of a mythical beast for the royal funeral of Thailand's late King Bhumibol Adulyadej -- have been removed, the AFP reported Wednesday. The statue is one of many that will grace the grounds of a stately cremation complex built for the monarch. The king died last October. His official funeral is scheduled for this October.

During his reign, the king focused modernizing his country, including the spread of technology. It was a double-edged sword. As Thais became more adept at technology, more comments appeared on social media -- including criticism of the monarchy, which led to an increase in prosecutions under the lese majeste law.

Artist Pitak Chalermlao posted photos of the sculpture to his Facebook page in late April, and the backlash began. The statue bore Apple's and Google's logos on each wing and Facebook's logo on its belt. The country's Fine Arts Department decried the use of logos too, saying they go against royal traditions.

Chalermlao apologised for adding the logos to the statue and removed them, although he noted that they were added with good intentions and to "show... pride for His Majesty like everyone else."

"I just wanted to connect the East and the West in honor of the King of Thailand," he told CNET.

First published May 5, 3:05 a.m. PT.

Update, May 7, 8:30 p.m.: Adds comment from Pitak Chalermlao

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