Virgin Mobile, owned by Sprint Nextel, has removed from its website and disavowed an offensive ad, citing it as a "rogue post by an external agency that was not approved by Virgin Mobile US."

The update comes from Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, who joined the Twitter chorus that decried the ad, which ran on Dec. 8, as distasteful and vaguely supportive of violence toward women.

The ad in question features a man approaching a woman from behind, covering her eyes with one hand and holding a small gift in the other. The text reads, "The Gift of Christmas Surprise: Necklace? or Chloroform?"

On his blog, Branson wrote, "Virgin Mobile US usually get these things right, although on this occasion it is clear they have gone too far."