Hospital Apologizes to Morgan Freeman for Using His Face As a Skin Warning

A hospital has issued an apology to Morgan Freeman after the Hollywood legend's face was used by its dermatology department in an advertisement for skin treatments.

The Vadakara Cooperative hospital in Kozhikode, a city in the southern Indian state of Kerala, used a photo of the 84-year-old in an ad that has sparked an outcry on social media.

The ad reads: "Get your skin tags, DPNs, warts, milia, molluscum and comedones removed through simple procedures easily in a single visit."

A spokesperson for Vadakara Cooperative hospital has confirmed that it has removed the ad and sent an apology to the Oscar-winning star of The Shawshank Redemption, Se7en, Million Dollar Baby and The Dark Knight.

T. Sunil, a marketing spokesperson for the hospital, told the Indian Express: "A dermatologist joined our Out Patient Department (OPD) recently. In order to publicize that there are skincare treatment facilities at the hospital, the board was installed and kept there for four days.

"A local designer created it. Due to a lack of knowledge and seriousness, the board was carelessly installed in front of the OPD."

Sunil said the hospital authorities became aware that Freeman's face had been used in the ad when a person "inquired why Nelson Mandela's photo was printed for the ad."

Freeman played the South African statesman in Clint Eastwood's 2009 film Invictus, earning an Oscar nomination for best actor in a leading role for his performance.

Sunil continued: "After that, we removed it on Saturday. The ad went viral on social media by Sunday. We extended our apology on Facebook.

"We understand that Freeman is a great artist, admired by many people across the world. We sincerely say sorry for the lack of knowledge."

Newsweek has contacted Freeman's representatives for comment.

The ad caused an uproar among Twitter users in India and beyond, with social media commenters describing it as rude and even racist.

"Oh, my god! The dermatology department of a Kerala cooperative hospital is using the photo of Morgan Freeman to claim they can remove warts & skin tags in a single visit! Show respect & basic courtesy, people!" tweeted writer and television personality Sreejith Panickar.

Indian film critic G. P. Ramachandran wrote on his Facebook page, per the Times of India: "Vadakara cooperative hospital has turned out as an insult and disgrace to the great cooperative sector in Kerala. An insult to the racial awareness of Vadakara natives and Keralities' worldview."

Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman. An Indian hospital used the 84-year-old actor's picture in an ad promoting skincare treatments. Getty Images/Twitter