Citroen pulls Egyptian advertisement accused of promoting sexual harassment of women

Amr Diab, an Egyptian singer, uses a camera installed in his car to photograph a woman without her consent.

Citroen, the French car manufacturer, has withdrawn an advertisement featuring Egyptian singer Amr Diab after widespread accusations that it promoted sexual harassment of women.

The 60-year-old pop star uses a camera installed in the car’s rearview mirror to secretly take a picture of a woman crossing in front of the vehicle in the ad, which was posted on Egyptian social media in early December.

The woman clearly does not consent to the photograph, but Diab can be seen smiling as the image appears on his phone. He then invites the woman to ride along with him in the car.

The advertisement was slammed on social media in Egypt, where 90 per cent of women aged 18 to 39 reported being harassed in 2019, according to a survey conducted by the Arab Barometer research network.

“Taking a picture of a woman without her consent is creepy,” tweeted Reel Abdellatif, a women’s rights activist. “You are facilitating sexual harassment.”

Ahmed Tawfiikk, another critic, questioned how the company could have thought the advertisement was a good idea. “How did this ever get approved in the first place?” he questioned beneath the Instagram post.

“That is the real problem here.” This demonstrates that there is a TEAM of people who never thought, ‘Is this appropriate?’ or ‘Is there nothing wrong with this?'”

Citroen announced on Thursday that the advertisement had been removed. “We have been made aware that a scene… was perceived as inappropriate,” Citroen said in an Instagram statement. “We have decided to pull this version of the commercial… and we express our heartfelt apologies to all communities who have been offended by this film.”

However, Diab, a megastar in the Arab world, has been chastised online for his role in the advertisement and failure to apologize.

“People look up to him as an idol, and he is well aware of the dangerous situations Egyptian women face on a daily basis,” a Twitter user named Mena wrote. “It’s concerning that he failed to recognize the red flags in this scenario.”

Diab shared the advertisement on his social media accounts, allowing millions of people to see it.

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