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American Apparel apologises for sharing picture of Challenger disaster before Independence Day

Social media employee was 'unaware of the event', says brand

American Apparel has apologised for posting a picture of the Challenger space shuttle disaster thinking it was “clouds”.

The edited photo appeared on the clothing brand’s Tumblr page on Thursday afternoon with the tags “smoke” and “clouds”.

It set off the wrong kind of fireworks on social media as Twitter users flocked to point out the mistake.

As the complaints flooded in, the post was swiftly removed and American Apparel tweeted an apology blaming a young employee.

“The image was re-blogged in error by one of our international social media employees who was born after the tragedy and was unaware of the event,” it said.

“We sincerely regret the insensitivity of that selection.”

The tragedy, in January 1986, killed all seven crew members when the shuttle broke apart just 73 seconds after blast-off, disintegrating over the Atlantic Ocean.

Among them was Christa McAuliffe, the first member of the Teacher in Space project.

The explosion was caused by the failure of an O-ring seal in the vehicle’s solid rocket booster.