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Carmaker pulls plug on advert accused of promoting sexual harassment

Some commentators accused the advert-makers of glamourizing sexual harassment

FILED - 06 March 2019, Switzerland, Geneva: A general view of the logo of French carmaker Citroen on the second press day of the 89th Geneva Motor Show. Citroen said it decided to withdraw a TV commercial that triggered an outcry on social media and was accused of inciting sexual harassment. Photo: Uli Deck/dpa.
A general view of the logo of French carmaker Citroen. Photo: Uli Deck/dpa.

French carmaker Citroen has said it decided to withdraw a TV commercial that triggered an outcry on social media and was accused of inciting sexual harassment.

In the advertisement, released earlier this month, Egyptian pop star Amr Diab is seen inside a Citroen car taking a photo of a woman crossing the road apparently without her consent.

A caption then appears in English reading: "Snap every beautiful moment." Both are later featured together.

Some commentators accused the advert-makers of glamourizing sexual harassment.

"The idea of the ad and its application are suitable for a sick society!" a detractor named Ahmed Magdi said on Twitter.

Citroen said it did not tolerate any form of harassment and added that the scene in question was aimed to highlight an in-built high-definition camera.

'Negative interpretation'

"We deeply regret and understand the negative interpretation of this part of the film," the company said in an online statement.

"We take the decision to withdraw this version of the commercial from all Citroen channels and we present our sincere apologies to all offended communities by the film," it added.

Conservatives in Egypt usually blame women, subjected to harassment, for wearing "revealing" clothes.

However, Muslim women dressed in the full-body niqab have also said they experience harassment.

In recent years, Egypt has passed laws stipulating harsher penalties for sexual offences, and expedited court trials for suspects.

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