Home / News / India /  Govt takes down Layer'r Shot perfume ad that promoted rape jokes

The Centre has ordered the suspension of controversial perfume advertisements after social media outrage and the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW)'s appeal. The Centre asked Twitter and YouTube to remove the controversial ads from their social media platforms.

In a letter to YouTube and Twitter, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said the advertisement was "detrimental to the portrayal of women in the interest of decency and morality" and in violation of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code).

The two advertisements by Layer'r Shot perfume brand sparked outrage among a large section of social media users, who claimed the advertisement sought to promote sexual violence against women.

The DCW also took suo-moto cognizance of a misogynistic advertisement. It said, "The said advertisement shows a boy and a girl, apparently a couple sitting on a bed when four more boys enter the room. One boy asks, "Shot mara lagta hai!", the boy sitting on the bed says, "Ha mara na ". Then the first boy says "Ab hamari bari" and moves toward the girl. The girl appears to be shocked and uncomfortable with the series of events. Thereafter, the boy picks up a bottle of a body spray named 'Shot' and the girl looks visibly relieved as she just got saved from getting gang raped!"

According to DCW, this advertisement is clearly promoting sexual violence against women and girls and encouraging a rapist mentality amongst men. "The advertisement is cringe-worthy, and should not be allowed to be played on mass media", wrote DCW.

Advertisement sector regulator ASCI, which has suspended the controversial advertisements of body spray brand Layer'r Shot, also said the ad "was potentially in serious violation" of its code against offensive advertising.

"The said ad is in potential violation of ASCI's chapter II, which states that advertisements should contain nothing indecent, vulgar, especially in the depiction of women, or nothing repulsive which is likely, in the light of generally prevailing standards of decency and propriety, to cause grave and widespread offence," said a statement from ASCI.

Actors Farhan Akhtar, Richa Chadha, and Swara Bhasker also criticised Layer'r Shot perfume brand for promoting "gang rape culture".

Taking to Twitter, Akhtar said the people behind the "tasteless" advertisements should be ashamed.

"What incredibly tasteless and twisted minds it must take to think up, approve and create these stinking body spray ‘gang rape’ innuendo ads!! Shameful," the actor wrote.

Chadha said both the brand and the agency that came up with the advertisements should be "sued for the filth they’re serving".

"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 every everyone think rape is a joke? Revelatory!" she added.

Referring to the Hyderabad gang-rape case, Bhasker said she found the ads "beyond disgusting".

"A teenage girl was gang-raped in Hyderabad-such incidents happen daily in India.. companies like @layerr_shot choose to make TV adverts joking abt & ‘cool-ifying’ rape & gangrape. Beyond disgusting! Not just tone deaf, also criminal! Absolutely shameful! What agency created it?" she tweeted.

The Layer'r Shot ads were launched during the first Test match between England versus New Zealand on Sony LIV. They were created by Triton Communications.

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