Amr Diab Citroën car ad pulled after claims it 'enables sexual harassment'

Amr Diab Citroën car ad pulled after claims it 'enables sexual harassment'
3 min read
30 December, 2021
In an English edition of the advertisement, the line 'Snap every beautiful moment' appears on screen as Egyptian singer Amr Diab takes a picture of a woman crossing in front of his Citroën.
The advert features Amr Diab, who is an icon in Egypt [Neville Hopwood/Getty for MDLBEAST SOUNDSTORM]

Citroën car advertisement starring iconic Egyptian singer Amr Diab has been pulled after backlash from social media users, who claimed it enabled sexual harassment.

The Egyptian TV commercial promoted a camera feature in the vehicle's front mirror, which allows drivers to snap a photo of the road ahead and then view the image on their phone.

In the advert, Diab uses the camera to take a picture of a woman crossing in front of his vehicle, seemingly without asking, and smiles as he looks at the image on his phone. The woman is later seen sitting in his car, and at one point rests her head on the Egyptian star's shoulder while they stand next to the vehicle.

In an English edition of the advert, the line "Snap every beautiful moment" appears on screen as Diab takes the photo.

Citroën Egypt took to Instagram on Wednesday to apologise for the advert.

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It said: "Citroën cares for all communities in the countries we operate [in] and we do not tolerate any form of harassment.

"We have been made aware that a scene in the latest Citroën C4 TV commercial in Egypt, highlighting the connected cam, an in-built HD camera designed to capture unique driving moments as well as to improve your safety has been perceived as inappropriate.

"We deeply regret and understand the negative interpretation of this part of the film... We take the decision to withdraw this version of the commercial from all Citroën channels and we present our sincere apologies to all offended communities."

In the Arabic version of its statement, the organisation said it had chosen to remove the ad "from all Citroën social media platforms".

The New Arab contacted Citroën Egypt to clarify whether any difference in meaning exists between the English and Arabic versions of its message, but did not receive a reply before publication.

The commercial has been slammed by social media users.

"Taking a picture of a woman without her consent is creepy. You're enabling sexual harassment," Egyptian-American women's rights activist and journalist Reem Abdellatif tweeted on Wednesday, tagging Citroën and Diab in her post.

She then on Thursday compared the Egyptian commercial to a previous advert about the same feature on a different car uploaded by Citroën's global Twitter account.

In this video, a man snaps a woman he knows who poses for the photos.

Abdellatif said the Egyptian advert was changed to "fit a misogynistic, predatorial culture".

"Women suffer greatly from the epidemic of sexual harassment in #Egypt and @Citroen endorsed it," she argued.

Lamis Khalilova Bartusek, another Twitter user, also hit out at the Egyptian commercial.

She wrote on Monday: "Shame on [Citroën] for promoting sexism, sexual harassment, violence and the objectification of women.

"It's 2021 for heaven's sake. This is unacceptable."

The New Arab contacted Amr Diab for comment via his website but did not receive a reply by the time of publication.