Two Facebook posts by a pub advertising a German food night have been banned for using Nazi imagery and “trivialising” World War Two.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) also criticised the Buck Inn in Darlington for “liking” Holocaust jokes posted below the pictures.
Three people had complained to the ASA about the posts.
Buck Inn owner Craig Harker said it was “political correctness gone mad” and “the world’s gone bonkers”.
An advert, posted on 8 September, featured the line “Don’t Mention Ze War” and showed a uniformed Nazi soldier performing a salute with a cartoon of the chef’s head superimposed on top.
The ASA said it appeared to resemble the “stylisation and colours typical of Nazi imagery”.
The second post four days later showed the Buck Inn had updated its Facebook profile picture to an image of a newspaper article about the German night poster, which was headlined “Pub’s German night ‘Nazi’ poster criticised”.
The pub also “liked” a number of comments, many of which contained jokes and puns in reference to the Holocaust, made by readers in relation to the posts.
Mr Harker said the original post was inspired by an episode of Fawlty Towers and was meant to be light-hearted and humorous.
He said 500,000 people had seen it, most of whom had taken it in the way it was intended and not as promoting the Nazis or mocking the war.
The ASA acknowledged the Fawlty Towers link but said the depiction of Nazi was “inappropriate and trivialised” the war and actions of the Nazis.
“Furthermore, the ad appeared to link German culture intrinsically with Nazi Germany and the war,” it added.
Mr Harker said: “The world’s gone absolutely bonkers if this is deemed offensive. As long as business is good I’ll continue to market my businesses however I see fit and let the PC brigade continue to do their jobs.”