BERLIN (AP) — A German company has canceled a major advertising contract with an Italian-American model after she described her passionate relationship with Moammar Gadhafi's son Muatassim and praised his family.
Telecommunications firm Telefonica Germany and its subsidiary Alice will stop working with 23-year-old model Vanessa Hessler and remove her face from its website within hours, spokesman Albert Fetsch said Monday.
"Vanessa Hessler has failed to distance herself from her comments on the conflict in Libya," Fetsch said.
Hessler had been the company's advertising face for years, and giant posters featuring the model were a fixture in many German cities.
Hessler told the Italian magazine Diva e Donna that for four years she had been dating Muatassim Gahafi — who was captured and killed in Libya alongside his father this month.
"I didn't have any contact with him since the uprising broke out, but our relationship was one of passion," she was quoted as saying by the magazine. "The Gadhafi family is not as they are being depicted, they are normal people."
The model-turned-actress also said that she was crying for Libya, adding that the rebels are "people who don't know what they're doing."
Talks between Telefonica and Hessler's agency did not yield a solution because Hessler stood by her comments, said Fetsch. "We and our clients have no comprehension for what she said."
Her face will be successively removed from all Alice PR material, he added. Telefonica Germany is a subsidiary of Spain's Telefonica S.A.
In August, Talitha van Zon, another model and ex-girlfriend of Muatassim Gadhafi, was evacuated from Libya to Malta. She then said that their three-month relationship had ended years ago but that they remained friends.
In comments to Britain's Telegraph newspaper, van Zon recounted details of her seven-year friendship with Muatassim, including trips to Monaco and St. Bart's, the Caribbean haven for the chic, luxury hotels and gifts of Louis Vuitton bags.
Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to this report.