The ad was criticized on social media in a country where around 90 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 39 reported being harassed in 2019, according to a survey by the Arab Barometer research network.
“Taking a photo of a woman without her consent is chilling,” women’s rights activist Reem Abdellatif wrote on Twitter. “You are allowing sexual harassment.”
Another reviewer, Ahmed Tawfiikk, questioned how the company could have thought the ad was a good idea.
“How was this approved in the first place?” he wrote, below the post on Instagram.
“That’s the real issue here. This shows that there is a whole TEAM of people who at no point along the way thought ‘is this appropriate?’ Or ‘is there nothing wrong with this?'”
On Thursday, Citroën said it had removed the ad.
“We have been informed that a scene … had been perceived as inappropriate,” Citroën wrote in a statement posted on its Instagram account.“We made the decision to withdraw this version of the commercial … and offer our sincere apologies to all communities offended by this film.”
Fountain: Citroen / Kasrawy
Online, people continued to criticize Diab, a megastar in the Arab world, for his involvement in the ad and for not apologizing.
“People look at him as an idol and he is well aware of the unsafe situations Egyptian women constantly face,” wrote a Twitter user named Mena.
“It is alarming that you have not seen the red flags in this scenario.”
Diab posted the ad on his social media accounts for millions of Arabs to have access.