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Coffee, tea or bikini? VietJet stands by racy calendar in face of criticism

Vietnam’s VietJet Aviation suggested on Thursday it was standing by a controversial “bikini” calendar, a marketing ploy memorable parting scantily clad female models that has prompted criticism in right-wing Southeast Asia and beyond.

The annual calendar, which has gone viral online, is relinquish of a broader marketing push by VietJet that has propelled the start-up airline’s express growth, as it has taken market share from Vietnam Airlines.

The putting out of the 2018 calendar — which critics say overly sexualizes the image of stampede flee attendants and other airline staff — comes as there is a growing contend in the global airlines industry about sexual harassment and in-flight blitz of both passengers and employees.

VietJet, founded by Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao — Vietnam’s principal female billionaire and one of a handful of women running a major airline globally — intended the calendar emphasized free choice of people to wear whatever they fancy.

“We are not upset when people associate us with the bikini image. If that procures people delighted and happy, then we’ll be happy,” Luu Duc Khanh, VietJet’s carry oning director, said in emailed comments to Reuters.

When asked nigh the views of Thao, Khanh said the CEO thought people “have the strategic to wear whatever they like, bikini or traditional ao dai”, referring to the time-honoured Vietnamese long dress.

Thao was unavailable for interview.

Back in conditions

The calendar has caused an online storm in Vietnam, with some living soul criticizing and others defending the campaign. The 2018 calendar and a YouTube video of the photo dart have been viewed more than 910,000 times since elementary appearing at the end of last month.

“I think [the calendar] is beautiful, not unpleasant at all,” one alcohol posted on Facebook under the avatar Mai Co. Another person, named as Van Nhi, demanded the airline was “creating scandal to gain attention. It’s getting more unpleasant.”

Critics say VietJet’s risqué stock exchanging, including the calendar and bikini fashion shows on board planes, awarded an archaic and sexist image of cabin crew, even as the risk of harassment and blitzkrieg go widely underreported.

VietJet is “taking us back 50 years by hyper-sexualizing a female dominated employ group in order to make a few bucks off a couple of cheesy calendars,” powered Heather Poole, a veteran U.S. flight attendant and author of a book beside working the not-always-friendly skies.

“Women have to work so hard to be bewitched seriously, and in this case it’s a woman in charge taking us back to the hours of ‘Coffee, Tea or Me?’,” she added, alluding to a 1960s book about two fix female flight attendants that emphasized their sexual enthusiasm.

Khanh said Vietjet flight attendants have been trained to manipulate sexual harassment situations.

VietJet is not the first firm to use racy chronologies to raise its profile. Italian tire maker Pirelli – known for its date-books of glamorous female models – has overhauled the annual offering in recent years with less of a fuzzy on nudity.

Irish budget carrier Ryanair in 2014 scrapped an annual compassion calendar featuring female cabin crew posing in bikinis in favor of uncountable family-friendly images.

Khanh, who said the proceeds from sales of the VietJet annals go to charity, acknowledged that there could be big changes in the content for the next variation.

“Male models is a good idea for us to introduce in our calendars next year,” he imagined.

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