Adidas, one of the official suppliers to the World Cup, agreed to stop selling two raunchy T-shirts after the Brazilian government complained that they would encourage the idea that the country was a destination for sexual tourism.
One shirt shows a bikini-clad woman with open arms on a sunny Rio de Janeiro beach under the Sugarloaf Mountain with the slogan "Looking to Score." The other has an "I love Brazil" heart, divided to resembled the buttocks of a woman wearing a thong bikini.
Adidas, the world's second-largest sportswear maker, said in a statement on Tuesday that the shirts would be withdrawn, adding that they were from a limited edition that was only on sale in the United States.
The shirts touched a nerve in Brazil, where people often complain about foreign stereotypes of Brazilian sensuality. Brazil's government is campaigning aggressively to shed the country's reputation as a destination for sex tourism.
Embratur, the national tourist board, said it “strongly repudiates the sale of products that link Brazil's image to sexual appeal."
Adidas is one of the main sponsors of the World Cup, which kicks off on June 12, and its ball provider.
The ministry of women’s affairs said the shirts were not just offensive to Brazilian women but exposed them to the "barbarism" of sexual predators.
"This is all the more shocking in a country that just elected a women as its highest authority, which brought greater respect for women and zero tolerance for any form of violence against them," a ministry statement said.
President Dilma Rousseff said her government would crack down on sex tourism and the exploitation of children and adolescents during the Cup, which is expected to draw 600,000 foreign fans.
"Brazil is happy to receive tourists for the World Cup, but it is also ready to combat sex tourism," she said in a burst of Twitter messages that included a hot line number to report cases of sexual exploitation.
"Brazil does not tolerate this type of crime on its territory," Embratur said.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-02-26