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Chicago nixes ‘Nativity’ at Christmas mart

Ads pulled for New Line's 'Story'

After managing to avoid controversy over “The Nativity Story,” New Line’s tale of the Virgin Mary has hit a snag in downtown Chicago.

Organizers of the German Christkindlmarket have ditched New Line as a sponsor due to concerns that ads for “The Nativity Story” may offend non-Christians.

Officials with the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, which has organized the event, did not respond to calls for comment. But the Mayor’s Office of Special Events said in a statement that the ads “would not only be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts, but also it would be contrary to acceptable advertising standards suggested to the many festivals holding events on Daley Plaza.”

New Line said it was “stunned” that the sponsorship was rescinded. Mini-major, which opens “The Nativity Story” this weekend domestically and overseas, said it had committed to a $12,000 sponsorship for a display area in the festival tent as well as logo signage in all print ads, direct mailings, brochures, fliers and on the Web site.

“We don’t understand why our sponsorship would be rejected for religious reasons, particularly considering the fact that our film details the story that inspired the holiday season that the Christkindlmarket was created to celebrate,” a New Line rep said.

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