The Information and Broadcasting ministry on Saturday suspended the controversial advertisements of the Layer’r ‘Shot’ deodorant, pending investigation. The action follows complaints by many people who claimed that the advertisements ‘promote rape culture’ and ‘sexual assault culture’.
“The IB ministry has suspended the controversial and outrageous ad of Layer’r Shot deodorant, pending investigation. The ministry has also written to Twitter and YouTube to take the videos down from their platforms at the earliest,” government sources said.
In his note to the platforms, Kshitij Aggarwal, Assistant Director (Digital Media) at the I&B ministry, said that the videos were detrimental to the portrayal of women in the interest of decency or morality, and in violation of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.
Earlier, the Delhi Commission For Women had written to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur demanding that the misogynistic” advertisement being played on mass media be taken off air. The panel on Saturday said the advertisement “promoted gang-rape culture” and also issued a notice to the Delhi Police in the matter.
“The Delhi Commission for Women has come across a misogynistic advertisement of a perfume brand…,” said the letter which went on to describe the objectionable advertisement. In her letter to Thakur, Maliwal had sought urgent action by the ministry to ban the advertisement.
She also said robust systems should be put in place to ensure that such “filthy” advertisements that promote “rape culture” are never played again. She also demanded heavy penalty on the perfume brand so that other companies refrain from using such “dirty tactics for cheap publicity”.
“What is this creative process that promotes toxic masculinity in its worst form and encourages gang-rape culture? FIR should be registered, advertisements should be taken off air and strongest penalty should be imposed on this company. Delhi Police and I&B Ministry must urgently act in the matter without wasting any further time,” Maliwal said.
The Delhi Police has been asked to provide an action taken report in the matter by June 9.
This is the second ad by deodorant brand Layer’r Shot, which has landed in trouble with regulators and also been slammed by Twitter users for promoting “rape culture”. The advertisements were broadcast during the first Test match between England and New Zealand.
The first advertisement shows four men having a conversation at a grocery store. They are portrayed debating who will take the “shot” as there are four of them and only “one shot”. As the men stand there discussing, a woman shopping nearby turns back to berate them as she thinks they are talking about her. However, she later realises that their discussion is centred around the last remaining bottle of Layer’r deodorant.
The second offensive advert shows a group of men entering a bedroom where a couple is already present. One of them asks a crude question about the girl, implying sexual activity. The clip later reveals that the man was asking about using the perfume.
Netizens have been fuming over the crassness and impunity visible in the ideation, production and promotion of such blatantly-misogynistic and objectionable ads.
Actor-director Farhan Akhtar posted a tweet saying, “What incredibly tasteless and twisted minds it must take to think up, approve and create these stinking body spray ‘gang rape’ innuendo ads..!! Shameful.”