An “incredibly tacky” ad for men’s fragrance has been taken off the air after outrage from celebrities and critics.
A television advertisement for a men’s body spray has been taken off the air in India after it was criticized by celebrities and the public for appearing to make reference to gang rape.
Bollywood celebrities including Priyanka Chopra, Richa Chadha and Farhan Khan were among those who criticized the ad for the fragrance brand Layer’r Shot, calling it “embarrassing”, “disgusting” and “incredibly tasteless”.
The controversial ad shows four men who appear to be stalking a scared-looking woman in a store before going up to one of the men and saying, “There are four of us, there’s one, who’s taking the picture?”
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting described the videos as “harmful to the portrayal of women in the interests of decency and morality” and said it violated the media code of ethics.
“This ad clearly promotes sexual violence against women and girls and promotes a rapist mentality in men. The advertisement is worthless and should not be played on the mass media,” said Delhi Commission for Women chairman Swati Maliwal in a letter to the ministry.
“Creatives, script, agency, client, casting… does everyone think rape is a joke?” Actress Richa Chadha tweeted, calling the ad “filth.”
Bollywood filmmaker Farhan Khan, who is also a UN ambassador for women’s goodwill, also weighed in on the controversy.
“What incredibly tacky and twisted minds it must take to conceive, approve and create these stinking body spray ‘gang rape’ innuendo. Shameful,” Khan tweeted.
Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra added: “Shameful and disgusting. How many clearances did it take for this commercial to go green. How many people thought this was okay?
“I’m so glad it was proclaimed and now the ministry has removed it. Horrible!”
Layer’r Shot apologized for the offensive ads, claiming that they “never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings or feelings or outrage a woman’s modesty or promote any kind of culture, as is misperceived by some”.
India has been plagued by sexual violence in recent years, with up to 90 rapes per day.
India recently introduced new laws increasing the penalty for rape to years in prison. The death penalty has been introduced for child molesters.
The gang rape and murder of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 sparked widespread protests against the treatment of women.
Just last week, a 17-year-old girl was allegedly raped by five men in Hyderabad.