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Is Jesus Bad for Business? Porsche Ad Fuels Debate Over Missing Statue

By Belal Awad · August 8, 2023

In brief…

  • German car manufacturere Porsche was chastised for omitting the Cristo Rei statue from Lisbon skyline in its 60th anniversary ad.
  • The controversy prompted Porsche to withdraw the ad.
  • Porche has since posted a new ad that includes the statue, but the company refuses to explain why it was deleted in the first place.
  • Despite the controversy, the 2024 Porsche 911 S/T boasts impressive power - and an impressive $291,650 price tag.
Statue of Christo Rei stands 92-feet-tall overlooking the Portuguese capital of Lisbon  Janko Hoener/Wikimedia

German luxury car manufacturer Porsche has come under fire for an advertisement celebrating the 60th anniversary of its iconic Porsche 911 model. The slick video, released last week, showcases the evolution of the Porsche 911 in an effort to promote its special-edition 2024 Porsche 911 S/T with its record-setting $291,650 price tag.

But then came the controversy.

Approximately 44 seconds into the video, a Porsche 911 is seen driving against the backdrop of a bridge and river in Lisbon, Portugal. Notably absent was the Cristo Rei, a 92-feet-tall statue of Jesus Christ that stands atop a 269-foot concrete pedestal overlooking the city. The missing statue was first spotted by a social media user whose post quickly went viral.

Porsche rushed out a statement in response: “In an early version of a film created in Europe, the Cristo Rei Statue does not appear. We are truly sorry and can fully understand the hurt this has caused. This film has been removed.”

The company, however, made no mention of why or how the airbrushing happened. It later uploaded a new version of the 60th-anniversary video on its YouTube account, this time prominently featuring the statue of Jesus Christ, further fueling speculation over why the statue was edited out in the first place.

The Santuário de Cristo Rei, or the Sanctuary of Christ the King, holds deep historical significance for the Portuguese people. Completed in 1959, the monument is a symbol of gratitude for Portugal’s neutrality during World War II, which spared the nation from the devastation of history’s most brutal war.

In spite of the controversy, the 2024 Porsche 911 S/T model continues to impress with its blow-out features. Along with its head-spinning price tag, the car boasts 518 horsepower, can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 3.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 186 mph.

At that speed, Christo Rei likely turns into a blur.