A novice film director caused an uproar by sending out promotional packs for an upcoming movie about Northern Ireland with nails suitable for shrapnel in bombs.
The packs also contained balaclavas or ski masks, which were used by paramilitaries during the Troubles to conceal their identities, and duct tape, the Belfast Telegraph reported Friday.
Nathan Todd has apologized, saying he was not trying to be offensive.
Todd, who studied engineering at Queen's University in Belfast, is the writer and director of "A Belfast Story." The movie stars the Irish actor Colm Meaney, best-known for playing Miles O'Brien in two "Star Trek" TV series, as a police detective investigating the killings of former members of the Irish Republican Army.
"The idea was to interest people in a movie we were making which is essentially the story of the two choices which face Belfast, do we engage retribution or reconciliation," Todd said of the promotion. "Obviously, the intention is not to offend anyone. We apologize if we did."
Stephen Gault, whose father died in one of the deadliest bombings of the Troubles, said the promotion was "highly offensive."
"The balaclava is symbolic of a terrorist but he has used it as a joke -- it is completely insensitive," he said.
Frank Mitchell of UTV, who got one of the packs, said he found it more puzzling than offensive. But Chris Hewitt of the British movie magazine Empire, who is from Northern Ireland, sent out a tweet calling it "the most distasteful freebie ever."