BTL’s advertising campaigns has taken a controversial turn and opposes are using the cyber market to express their discontent. A four page letter authored by Senator Lisa Shoman explains that and we quote…..”DigiCell has, for some time now been conducting a social media advertising campaign on Facebook and Instagram which carries advertisement of the services offered by your company which are offensive to women, and lately, degrading and in one particular case, suggests that violence/abusive restraint are not only acceptable, but laudable and uses the hash tag #tryduct tape,” end quote.
Shoman says that the new ads are sending the wrong message to the public and especially women. The release continues to state that “Memes like these help to perpetuate a culture of contempt for women and abuse of their personhood. It is this that helps to cement a culture of violence against women, and equates women as flesh for male consumption. It caters to, and is dreamed up by an adolescent male fantasy of rape, submission, degradation and depredation of women,” end quote.
Shoman goes on to state that as a woman, a Belizean, as a tax payer and former Chairman of BTL that the company 1. Issue an immediate and public apology from the Board of Directors of BTL for the offending DigiCell ad campaigns; 2. An immediate cessation of any advertising that is degrading to any human being, but especially to women and girls, ethnic minorities and the LGBT Community; and 4 That BTL immediately seek assistance of experts in Gender Justice and Equality to investigate the extent to which the corporate culture of BTL is infected with misogyny and homophobia’” end quote. Late this evening BTL’s Chairman of the Executive Committee Anwar Barrow responded to Shoman as follows “We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated yesterday 4th August, 2015. As an immediate response I can say that we agree that those particular two social media posts were offensive and as such removed them immediately upon concerns being raised by another member of the public prior to your letter. We have subsequently put in place a proper screening process for social media posts and will be further considering other supplemental measures. The company sincerely apologizes to our customers for any offense taken. The company will be issuing a more substantive, formal response on Friday of this week in relation to this matter.”
As mentioned BTL has removed the offending ADS from social media. We’ll keep an eye on this story as it develops.
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