Shell re­moves Malaysian cutouts over grop­ing pics

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

En­ergy gi­ant Shell said it is re­mov­ing life-sized cutouts of a Malaysian woman in a head­scarf from its petrol sta­tions in the Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­try af­ter pho­tos of men grop­ing the fig­ure started cir­cu­lat­ing on­line. The ad­verts fea­tur­ing a fe­male em­ployee, wear­ing a red T-shirt with a Shell logo, black trousers and a black head­scarf, smil­ing and with her thumb raised in the air, had been placed at Royal Dutch Shell’s sta­tions in Malaysia.

Images of men kiss­ing the card­board cutouts, hold­ing her hand and grab­bing her chest and crotch started cir­cu­lat­ing on Face­book in re­cent days, in what Shell blasted as “dis­taste­ful and sug­ges­tive acts”. The woman, named in lo­cal re­ports as 25year-old Nor Shafila Khairusalleh, who worked at a Shell sta­tion, crit­i­cized the “ex­treme be­hav­ior” of the men in the images. “They may just be jok­ing, but I feel hu­mil­i­ated be­cause that is still me al­though it is just an im­age,” she told news por­tal mS­tar.

The An­glo-Dutch group said in a state­ment that “we do not con­done this dis­re­spect­ful act, which is com­pletely against the cul­ture of Malaysians and Shell’s core val­ues. We urge our ne­ti­zens and mem­bers of the pub­lic to re­frain from shar­ing th­ese images fur­ther. “The standee (cutout) will be re­moved from all our sites with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.”

An AFP jour­nal­ist at a Shell sta­tion in Ben­tong, just out­side the cap­i­tal Kuala Lumpur, said two of the cutouts had been re­moved from the fore­court and placed in­side the site’s shop. A staff mem­ber said the cutouts were re­moved Mon­day and were go­ing to be placed in stor­age. Shell did not say how many cutouts were re­moved and which sta­tions were af­fected. The oil gi­ant has a net­work of over 950 sta­tions across Malaysia and serves nearly one mil­lion cus­tomers a day, ac­cord­ing to its web­site. More than 60 per­cent of Malaysia’s pop­u­la­tion of over 30 mil­lion peo­ple are Mus­lim and so­cial at­ti­tudespar­tic­u­larly out­side cities-can be con­ser­va­tive. Re­li­gious con­ser­vatism has also been ris­ing in Malaysia in re­cent years, chip­ping away at a one-time rep­u­ta­tion for mod­er­a­tion and tol­er­ance. —AFP

BEN­TONG, Malaysia: A Shell petrol sta­tion em­ployee holds up life-sized cutouts de­pict­ing a fe­male staff mem­ber, pic­tured in uni­form with a black Mus­lim head­scarf and placed be­side in­di­vid­ual self-serve petrol pumps as part of a pro­mo­tional cam­paign, as they were pulled from dis­play at a Shell sta­tion. —AFP

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