NEW YORK - American Apparel has apologised after a social media employee mistook a photo of the shuttle Challenger disaster for clouds and posted the photo on the company's Tumblr site.
In re-posted images of the original post, the explosion can be seen on a red background tagged as "smoke" and "clouds", ABC News reported.
The company quickly deleted the post and tweeted a statement on Thursday apologising for the use of the image, according to the report.
"A young international social media employee who was born after the Challenger tragedy unfortunately re-blogged a photograph of the explosion on our Tumblr account unaware of the context," the statement said.
"We deeply apologise for the insensitivity of that selection and the post has been deleted."
Although the company apologised, the American Apparel Facebook page had a number of angry comments from online commentators the day after the image was posted, ABC News reported.
"Your company is an absolute embarrassment after utilising the Challenger picture in the manner you did. I am deeply ashamed to call you fellow citizens after that....an absolute disgrace," wrote Mike Brennan.
"Consider removing American from your company name because you have made it clear you are far from it."
The company has already been in upheaval in the past few weeks after the American Apparel board ousted its controversial CEO Dove Charney last month as the company faced dwindling sales, ABC News reported.
Earlier this week, Charney reportedly increased his ownership of stock in the company, leading to rumours that he would try to oust board members by becoming the majority shareholder.