Dubai-based ride-hailing app Careem has apologised to fans after it released an advert that ridicules divorce in Jordan.
“Our big family, we apologise for the video posted on social media, as we did not mean to offend any member of our community, especially women. We apologise to you and we are proud to serve you all!”
The advert shows a married couple arguing on the phone over the husband’s busy working schedule, after which the man, played by actor Imad Farajin, decides to divorce his wife.
He contacts Careem to deliver divorce papers to his wife, but changes his mind shortly after remembering that he still owes her 10,000 Jordanian dinars as part of their dowry agreement.
He calls Careem to cancel the delivery but it is too late, as the ride-hailing app had completed ‘the world’s fastest delivery’ in just 2 minutes.
The video posted on social media quickly garnered backlash from followers, with one Twitter user stating, “The world is progressing and you’re still making ads like these? Don’t you have a classier approach? Can’t you see that this isn’t funny?”
Another user said, “The idea is shallow and discriminates against women and our values and traditions in Jordan. The idea of divorce which you’re advertising because you’re ‘the fastest delivery’ is not appropriate – since when is divorce a laughing matter?”
Some users did not mind the ad, however, with one writing, “Why are you upset? Isn’t it true that marriage involves payments like any other merchandise?”
Palestinian actor Imad Farajin is famous for starring in top-rated satirical show ‘Watan Ala Watar’ which uses comedy to tackle key political and societal subjects in the Arab world, including corruption, alcohol consumption and violence against women.
Jordanian women were previously unable to initiate a divorce, until a temporary law released in 2001 allowed them to file for divorce if they agree to give up their rights to alimony and return the dowry they received from their husbands.
The UN has ranked Jordan as one of top 10 countries in the world with “high discriminatory” personal status laws against women.
While it saw a record number of female ministers in its government in 2018, its status on gender equality global indicators continues to decline.
A high rate of violence against women in Jordan saw the country ranked in the 135th position in the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report issued by the World Economic Forum.
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