Expatica news

“Campaign is discriminatory”

25 April 07

BRUSSELS – The court in Brussels heard arguments in the case that the Institute for Equal Treatment of Men and Women has brought against the Rent-a-wife campaign.

Home Entertainment Services and Emakina, a specialist in e-marketing, e-business and web design, launched the website www.rentawife.be Customers who visited the site could choose from among more than 9,500 women who could supposedly be “delivered to their homes by post.”

The Institute for Equal Treatment of Men and Women was not at all amused and filed a request with the court of the chamber of commerce calling for the campaign to be stopped because they say it is discriminatory.

“The campaign and the images being used are hurtful and humiliating,” lawyer Bruno Blanpain said on Wednesday. “Women are portrayed as objects of lust that can be bought or rented. That is discrimination, and it encourages discrimination as well. The consumer is also being misled, which is a violation of the Trade Practices Act.”

The Institute is demanding a stop to the campaign, a fine for the organisers and publicity about the court’s verdict. Home Entertainment Services and Emakina contest the arguments from the Institute and claim that the campaign finished on Tuesday evening.

“The website has been closed and only shows the advertising film,” lawyer David Ryckaert argued. “Besides, there was no case of discrimination or misleading consumers. Everyone who visited the website could see right away that it was a joke. It is a parody of the cliché image of the classic housewife. The response from the public shows that consumers got the joke.”

The public prosecution department says the campaign may have been a dubious choice, but that it certainly did not disturb public order or decency. The president of the court of the chamber of commerce will announce a decision in the coming weeks.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news