Business

Shell withdraws Malaysia cardboard cutouts after 'distasteful' groping

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 in Bentong, some 70 kms north of Kuala Lumpur in nearby Pahang state on July 4, 2017 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Shell has more than 950 stations across Malaysia

Shell is removing life-sized cardboard cutouts of a female employee from all of its Malaysian petrol stations after "distasteful" images appeared online.

Pictures of men kissing the figure, holding her hand and touching her chest and crotch have gone viral on Facebook and other social media.

Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country which has seen religious conservatism on the rise in recent years.

Shell said the acts went against local culture and its own values.

The energy giant, which has more than 950 outlets in Malaysia, said it would not condone the "distasteful and suggestive acts", which it said were "disrespectful".

"We urge netizens and members of the public to refrain from sharing these images further", it added, criticising the "extreme behaviour" of the men,

'Humiliated'

The adverts featuring a 25-year-old female employee, dressed in a red T-shirt, black trousers and a black headscarf.

The woman told local paper The Star that she felt "humiliated" by the images.

"They may just be joking, but I feel humiliated because that is still myself although it is just an image," she said.

One man who posted a four-minute video on Facebook of himself kissing the cardboard cutout has reportedly apologised.

"I let excitement get the better of me," he told a Malaysian news outlet.

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