Indian actor Priyanka Chopra took to Twitter on Saturday to condemn an advertisement for purportedly promoting rape culture after it aired earlier in the day.
The commercial for the male fragrance brand Layer’r Shot shows four men staring at a nervous-looking woman in a store when one of the men asks, “We’re four, there’s one, who takes the shot?” When the woman turns around, it becomes clear that the men are referring to the body spray on the store shelf.
Why is India the rape capital of the world and most unsafe country for a woman! An advert romanticizing gang rape. pic.twitter.com/jD6K3CjJeQ
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) June 4, 2022
Many celebrities criticized the male fragrance brand for the commercial, including Chopra, who labeled the advertisement as “shameful,” “disgusting” and “incredibly tasteless.”
Shameful and disgusting. How many levels of clearances did it take for this commercial to be green lit. How many people thought this was ok? I’m so glad that it was called out and now the ministry has taken it down. Appalling!
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) June 4, 2022
Indian actor Richa Chadha also criticized Layer’r Shot for approving the commercial despite it going through “several layers of decision making,” while film writer and director Farhan Khan described the creators of the commercial as having “twisted minds.”
This ad is not an accident. To make an ad, a brand goes through several layers of decision making. Creatives, script, agency, client, casting… DOES EVERYONE THINK RAPE IS A JOKE? Revelatory! This brand, the agency that made this ad need to be sued for the filth they’re serving. https://t.co/M3YjbljAYN
— RichaChadha (@RichaChadha) June 4, 2022
What incredibly tasteless and twisted minds it must take to think up, approve and create these stinking body spray ‘gang rape’ innuendo ads..!! Shameful.
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) June 4, 2022
On Saturday, the chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, Swait Maliwal, wrote to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting: “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.”
The Ministry took down the commercial within 24 hours and asked that shared videos of the commercial be removed from Twitter and YouTube.
Layer’r Shot apologized in a statement on Monday stating that the brand “never intended to hurt anyone’s sentiments or feeling or outrage any woman’s modesty or promote any sort of culture, as wrongly perceived by some.”
The controversial commercial comes amid a spate of high-profile rape cases with women victims that have roiled India in recent years. Recorded rape cases went up by 12 percent in in the country in 2021. Many cases go unreported because of stigma and shame, as well as a low conviction rate for those who are accused.
Feature Image via @RichaChadha / Vanity Fair