THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch supermarket chain on Wednesday scrapped a television advertisement linked to this year's World Cup in Qatar that included scenes showing people dancing on scaffolding at a building site.
The advertisement for a shopping bag that doubles as an orange sleeveless sweater that supporters can wear when they watch the Dutch national soccer team drew criticism for making light of the plight of migrant workers in Qatar.
“This was a horrible, tasteless and tone-deaf advertisement by Jumbo. The decision to pull the ad is the right one,” Human Rights Watch spokesman Jan Kooy said. “This should be followed up with a formal apology. We hope that Jumbo, and other companies will inform themselves about Qatar’s terrible human rights record before they broadcast World Cup related ads.”
Jumbo supermarket said in a statement that it was immediately halting the campaign.
“We realize now that a link can be made between this advertisement and the appalling working conditions in Qatar and that was never our intention. We deeply regret this and offer our sincere apologies,” said the company, which is also a sponsor of two-time Formula One champion Max Verstappen and the Jumbo Visma cycling and speedskating teams.
Qatar has faced intense scrutiny of the physical and contractual conditions for hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who were needed in the emirate since the World Cup hosting rights were won 12 years ago.
Qatar has set up a workers’ support fund which, since 2020, has paid $164 million in compensation to more than 36,000 workers from 17 different countries, Human Rights Watch said in August, citing government data.
The World Cup — the first to be staged in the Middle East — opens on Nov. 20 and the final is scheduled for Dec. 18.
The Associated Press