The Abu Dhabi distributors of carmaker Subaru has tendered an apology to “women around the world” after an ‘offensive’ Facebook post caused uproar across media platforms.
The post, which has been deleted from its Facebook page, commented on a tragic accident that occurred over the weekend on Sheikh Zayed Road, calling the incident a case of a ‘Women driver at it again’ [sic], with a tirade against female drivers that triggered a backlash from readers calling the post “sexist” and “shameful”.
A family of four perished in the crash, when a female driver stopped her car in the middle of the busy highway when her car suffered a flat tyre.
The post, which wound its way on the Subaru Emirates official page, stated: ‘Women driver at it again… An entire family has perished as a result of a grave mistake by a lady driver on SZR this weekend.
“A Jordanian woman parked her car right in the middle of the road on Sheikh Zayed motorway after it suffered from a tyre puncture. She ignored the driver’s warning to take her car off the road and fix the tyre on the hard shoulder area.
“Unfortunately a driver who was passing through that area had warned the woman to instantly take her car off the road but that she did not listen.
“Call it her ignorance, four innocent soul paid with their life including a nine-month-old baby boy. Another woman in the car was said to be seriously wounded.
“Well, RTA cannot put in extra parameters for women to check their presence of mind during crisis situation while driving, it’s all about being responsible drivers.”
When Emirates 24|7 contacted Subaru Emirates, the manager Ashraf NM from Al Adiyat Motors, which is the sole distributor for the cars in Abu Dhabi, apologised for the post.
He said: “I apologise to women around the world for the post that made it to our social media page. It was put up without our knowledge and we do not support such a bias. Also, it was never our intention to hurt anyone.”
He continued: “The Facebook post has been deleted and we have taken action against the agency that was handling our social media account; we have cancelled the contract.”
An apology has been tendered to the general public on its Facebook page, which reads: ‘A recent post on our Facebook Page offended the sentiments of a number of people. Our sincere apology goes out to everyone for this. We respect your sentiments and have taken down the post with immediate effect.
'At Subaru, safety is our topmost priority and concern. The news posted yesterday was intended as a general awareness message. Sometimes with the best of intentions a final communication may come out wrong. This was one such instance. We just want to bring to everyone’s notice to please be more cautious while driving.
'Our sincere apologies once again'.
Readers cry gender bias
The post was deemed “offensive” and “shocking” by many readers, with many commenting on the page, venting their anger at the “sexist” remarks, calling it a “shameful gender bias” and asking Subaru’s parent company to take action.
However, what further fuelled the ire was when those comments were further defended by Subaru Emirates’ social media administrator.
Tanzi Gill wrote: “Subaru Emirates - What were they thinking with that sexist statement?”
Mansoor Ahmed wrote: “Subaru Emirates uses recent Dubai road tragedy where four people died into a sexist Facebook post, and not even sorry.”
Faisal Hashmi wrote: “The sexist Subaru Emirates Facebook post is such a shame. Always look at who shouldn’t be representing your social media.”
Igrar Aliyev wrote: “Do not be so anti-woman brother, some men make worse mistakes. How you drive depends on your proficiency and not your gender.”
To this, the social media manager from Subaru Emirates replied: “It’s not anti-women bro, just pointing out few facts. Now we cannot ignore this fact the accident happened due to a women driver carelessness.”
This statement triggered another volley of responses, with Samer Chaheb’s comment summing up the gist of all those writing in, saying: “Subaru Emirates, whoever wrote that post lacks substantial evidence to be representing a reputed brand such as Subaru on social media.
“The fact that post starts with ‘Women driver at it again’ [sic] negates the claim you are reporting facts. The only facts an automatic company can use comes from market and sales data.
“The way this post has been framed and written shows the bias and ignorance the writer suffers from….”
His post, which highlighted the public relations backlash the brand has suffered with the volley of negative comments, added: “The only fact, Subaru, is that you need to immediately re-assess your social media strategy and take extreme measures to counteract the damage that has been done.
“To the ‘bro’ who wrote this post, if you decide to insult half of your customer base and pose it as facts, you might need to know a thing or two about English and grammar.”
Several residents have also sworn off investing in the Subaru brand.
Al Adiyat Motors only distrubute the Subaru brand in the capital, which is no way associated with Al Khoory Automobiles, that is the official distributors of Subaru in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.