Deodorant brand company Layer’r Shot on Monday apologised for its two advertisements that social media users said encourages “rape culture”.
In a statement, the brand said it was issuing the apology for the advertisements that caused “rage amongst individuals and several communities”.
“We, the brand Layer’r SHOT would like to inform one and all that only after due and mandatory approvals, we have aired the advertisements, wherein, we never intended to hurt anyone’s sentiments or feelings or outrage any women’s modesty or promote any sort of culture, as wrongly perceived by some,” the statement added.
Layer’r Shot said it had asked its media partners to stop broadcasting the advertisements on television from June 4. They were taken off television after the Advertising Standards Council of India took action a day before.
On June 4, the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry had directed Twitter and YouTube to remove videos of the two advertisements, saying that they were “detrimental to the portrayal of women in the interest of decency or morality”.
In e-mails sent to YouTube and Twitter, the ministry had said that the videos were being widely seen and shared on the two platforms.
The advertisements violated Rule 3(1)(b)(ii) of the Information Technology Rules, 2021, which states that users may not “host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share any information which is insulting or harassing on the basis of gender”.
They were being aired during a cricket match broadcast on June 3.
On June 4, the Delhi Commission for Women had also asked Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur to take action against the deodorant brand for “misogynistic advertisements” that promoted “rape culture”.
“This advertisement is clearly promoting sexual violence against women and girls and promoting a rapist mentality among men,” said Swati Maliwal, chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, in a letter to Thakur. “The advertisement is cringeworthy and should not be allowed to be played on mass media.”
The panel asked the Delhi Police to submit an action taken report in the matter by June 9.
Actors Priyanka Chopra, Richa Chadha and Farhan Khan also criticised the commercials, describing it as “shameful”, “disgusting” and “incredibly tasteless”.