As the Jury for Ethical Advertisement examined the publicity campaign of RichMeetBeautiful (RMB) on Tuesday, the company’s chief executive officer, Sigurd Vedal, again dismissed the criticism levelled against it. “The fact that we clearly specify in our conditions of use that all forms of prostitution and the sale/purchase of sexual services are formally prohibited was not at all taken into consideration when accusations were made against us,” he said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
The Norwegian has come under fire in Belgium for his promotional operation for a sugar-dating service that aims to link up students and wealthy men. The controversial campaign, launched early last week, was finally scrapped by RMB.
After highlighting the advantages of his company’s Internet site during half of his statement, Vedal zoomed in on the media storm the campaign sparked in Belgium. “We have been publicly accused, judged and convicted for no valid reason,” he said.
“Personalities recognized and respected by the Belgian people issued their judgement, arriving much too quickly at heavy accusations,” he charged, adding that the judgement was “not in keeping with our way of conducting and administering our Internet site and its community. The judgement is synonymous with defeat for us.”
“In the debates and discussions, we have been described as a service that only proposes sexual relations, and that uses this for gain, thus neglecting all the other dimensions, particularly the ‘spiritual’ and ‘physical’ ones, which are two basic criteria for a successful relationship on RichMeetBeautiful,” added Vedal, stressing that all forms of prostitution and sale/purchase of sexual services are formally banned by the site.
The RMB CEO noted the “30 full-time employees work 24 hours a day, seven days a week” to respond to the notifications and to block any members who violate the conditions of use.
The Jury for Ethical Advertisement, which received many complaints about the campaign, was scheduled to discuss the issue on Tuesday. An investigation has also been launched to determine whether the RMB’s promotional operation is a criminal offence.