Car Company Citroen Egypt Accused of ‘Enabling Sexual Harassment’ in Advertisement

The Egyptian branch of French car company Citroen is facing accusations of ‘enabling sexual harassment’ for an advert that features acclaimed pop star Amr Diab.

In the full clip, Diab nearly hits a woman crossing the road, then he takes a photo of her using a camera in his rearview mirror, apparently without her consent, and downloads it into his phone.

Later in the video, Diab and the woman are seen in the car together, acting like a couple.

Citroen Egypt released the advert on Dec. 3 but it sparked criticism in recent days.

“Taking a picture of a woman without her consent is creepy. You’re enabling sexual harassment,” Egyptian-American journalist Reem Abdellatif wrote on Twitter.

“Sexual harassment and assault are pandemics stalking the Middle East, aided by fear and the impunity granted to perpetrators,” Abdellatif added.

Amal Alharithi, editor-in-chief of Arab Woman Magazine, said on Twitter, “The sad thing about Amr Diab’s announcement is that the entire crew did not realize the error in the advertisement. Filming girls in the streets without permission did not find any objection from the staff.”

A 2013 report by the United Nations found that 99.3% of women and girls in Egypt had experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime, while 82.6% said that they did not feel safe in the streets.

In July, the Egyptian parliament approved harsher penalties for sexual harassment and related crimes, upgrading them to felony offenses.

However, Egyptian authorities have been accused of frequently failing to prosecute male perpetrators.

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