A commercial for the male body spray was taken down in India following criticism that it trivialized rape by making light of the situation.
Bollywood celebrities like Priyanka Chopra, Richa Chadha, and Farhan Akhtar have taken to social media in order to express their anger at the latest commercial released by Layer’r Shot, a male fragrance brand, calling it “shameful,” “disgusting,” and “incredibly tasteless.”
The video shows four men seemingly stalking a woman, who looks frightened, in the store ahead of one of the men stating, “We’re four, there’s one, who takes the shot?”
When the woman turns around, only then does the audience find out that the men are talking about the body spray – which one of the men gets from the store shelf and uses.
The commercial caused a firestorm of criticism on social media, with critics, including numerous showbiz personalities, slamming its insinuation as making light of rape.
Several people stated that the timing of the advertisement is quite insensitive since it was aired only a week following a case in which five men in the southern city of Hyderabad allegedly raped a 17-year-old was revealed – the most recent in a series of major crimes against women and minority groups all over the country.
“This advertisement is clearly promoting sexual violence against women and girls and promoting a rapist mentality among men. The advertisement is cringeworthy and should not be allowed to be played on mass media,” said the Delhi Commission for Women chairwoman Swati Maliwal in a letter to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Saturday.
The ministry has already taken down the commercial and notified Twitter and YouTube to withdraw it from their platforms.
The ministry, in an email to Twitter, wrote the videos were “detrimental to the portrayal of women in the interest of decency and morality” and went beyond the line of the digital media ethics code.
In a statement on Monday, Layer’r Shot expressed its apologies for the television commercial, stating it “never intended to hurt anyone’s sentiments or feelings or outrage any woman’s modesty or promote any sort of culture, as wrongly perceived by some.”
In response to the current situation, the brand called all media collaborators to request that they stop broadcasting variations of their commercial from Saturday immediately.
The commercial gained controversy even after its removal, as many celebrities continued to blast it. Some called out the creators of this video for treating rape as a joke.
Opinions expressed by Artist Weekly contributors are their own.