Citroën pulls ‘creepy’ ad accused of normalizing sexual harassment after backlash

The ad was slammed on social media in a country where about 90 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 39 reported being harassed in 2019, according to a study by the Arab Barometer research network.

“Taking a picture of a woman without her consent is creepy,” women’s rights activist Reem Abdellatif wrote on Twitter. “You enable sexual harassment.”

Another critic, Ahmed Tawfiikk, questioned how the company could have thought the ad had been a good idea.

“How was this ever approved in the first place?” he wrote during the post on Instagram.

“That’s the real problem here. This shows that there is a whole TEAM of individuals who at no time along the way have ever thought ‘is this appropriate?’, Or ‘is there nothing wrong with this?'”

On Thursday, Citroën said they had removed the ad.

“We have been made aware that a scene … had been perceived as inappropriate,” Citroën wrote in a statement on their Instagram account“We make the decision to withdraw this version of the advertisement … and we offer our sincere apologies to all the offended communities of this film.”

Citroen Egypt statement.

Source: Citroën / Kasrawy

Online, people kept criticizing Diab, a megastar in the Arab world, for his part in the ad and apology.

“People look up to him as an idol and he is well aware of the insecure situations Egyptian women are constantly facing,” wrote a Twitter user named Mena.

“It’s alarming that he did not see the red flags in this scenario.”

Diab posted the ad on its social media accounts so that millions of Arabs had access to it.

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