American Flag Tablecloth Suggestion Sparks Outcry, HGTV Apology

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HGTV has apologized after sparking outcry by suggesting a U.S. flag be used as a patriotic tablecloth in a recent online decorating segment.

Flag Tablecloth

"This was a regrettable use of our flag and it never should have happened,” HGTV said in a statement late Wednesday. “We sincerely apologize."

"We removed the post from our website. We want to assure our fans that HGTV is proud of the American flag and everything it symbolizes for our people.”

For its “Classic Fourth of July Table Setting Ideas,” HGTV suggested viewers "drape a large American flag over the table as a bright and festive table runner."

It recommended a "nylon flag so spills can be easily wiped off and the flag can later be hung with pride on a flag pole" ... but viewers were still not impressed.

“Using an American flag as a table cloth dishonors all Americans who love Old Glory, especially those who gave their lives defending it,” one viewer wrote.

“I cannot fathom why y’all would suggest something so disrespectful,” wrote another.

“I am appalled that you would suggest using the flag that my brother was killed defending in Iraq as something to catch spills at a cookout," said a third.

"No one dies for a table cloth," another added.

Section 176 of the U.S. Flag Code, which is not law (you can legally burn the thing) but a guideline, states that the flag should never touch anything beneath it.

Also, it should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.

Finally, the flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

Basically, HGTV's suggestion probably doesn't pass official muster, but are people just overreacting? Tell us what you think: U.S. flag as a tablecloth ...