An ad produced by a Japanese city was pulled Monday following an uproar by netizens calling it sexist and perverse.
The online advertisement, created by the city officials of Shubushi to boost the local eel industry, featured a teenage girl in a swimsuit in a pool who later turns into an eel. AFP reported that the officials removed the ad but insisted that they only wanted to draw attention to locally-farmed fish.
The clip, that lasts for two minutes, saw the teen girl hanging out in the pool. The girl does some activities by the pool like playing, having snacks and hula-hooping.
After a period of time of being taken care of, she was shown transforming into an eel, saying “goodbye” and then swimming away.
The narrator tells the audience how he nurtured her well throughout her stay. “I fed her delicious food until she was full, and allowed her to get plenty of sleep,” he said in the voiceover.
A scene of eels being barbecued on a grill is shown as the narrator proudly claims, “We’re farming (eels) with care.”
Reactions to the ad were mostly negative. Most comments blamed the city for creating an ad that portrayed women in a degrading way.
“This makes me think of a girl who is being kidnapped and locked up… it’s the delusions of a pervert,” a netizen tweeted.
“They should take down this sexist video,” another one commented.
“We’re aware that some people were offended,”a local official told AFP. “We just wanted to make a video that simply explains the city is known for eel farming.”
A similar issue rocked the city of Shima after using a female mascot character that many found to be sexist. The city used an animated character, Meg, an innocent-looking 17-year-old woman with large breasts, which was supposed to be modeled on female divers who forage for abalone, seaweed and other seafood. Some of the divers complained that the character demeaned their profession.