The promotion by the Thalia Surf Shop led to a blasting by civil rights leader Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.
"This cheap attempt on the part of a business to make money off of Dr. King continues the pattern of disrespect and ignorance of and that far too many businesses and business owners have for the monumental work of Dr. King."
Hutchinson demanded the surf shop stop the MLK sale and provide a public apology.
The owner of the shop, Nick Cocores, said he received about a dozen e-mails from people who did not like the advertisement and to each one he sent a personal apology.
"In no way did we intend to hurt or offend anyone," Cocores said. "For those that took offense or disrespect, we truly are sorry. We took down the ad for our sale to hopefully calm the waters and in the future will be more careful in our selection of promotions."
Some said they were not offended.
"It wouldn't upset me," said Kris Rowland of Yorba Linda. "I would think they just made a bad choice trying to do the best they could for their business."