Sandwich chain Subway Restaurants today said it was ending a promotion at its German franchises that used an image of a fat Statue of Liberty.
The promotion sparked outrage from a leader in the U.S. Congress.
Subway spokesman Kevin Kane said the promotion, which ended today, may have been pulled ahead of schedule.
"The staff over in Germany has been contacting us daily because they feel bad," Kane said. "They may have said 'OK let's wrap this up.'"
At issue was a tray-liner at Subway's German franchises promoting the documentary "Super Size Me," which links the U.S. fast-food industry, particularly Subway rival McDonald's Corp., to the nation's obesity epidemic.
Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, who famously lost nearly 250 pounds eating the chain's sandwiches daily, appears in the film.
Subway began receiving customer complaints about the tray-liner, which features a heading that asks "Why are Americans so fat?", after U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader Tom DeLay of Texas criticized the promotion.
"I guess for some companies' corporate patriotism is as flexible as Jared's waistline," DeLay said in a statement last week.
Conservative groups the National Legal and Policy Center (LP) and the Center for Individual Freedom also criticized the promotion.
DeLay spokesman Jonathan Grella today cheered the promotion's end, saying he was encouraged by Subway's "responsiveness and sensitivity."