There are an assortment of meanings for “get off” in the English language. You “get off” the bus; you can “get off” drugs; someone can question your arrogance by asking “where do you get off acting like that?”
And then there is the sexual term: “Get off” – which, you know, means to have an orgasm.
Air Asia hasn’t exactly made clear what they meant when they decided to use “Get off in Thailand” as a campaign slogan, but considering the abundance of sexual tourism in the country, you’d think the abundance of smart people working at the airline might have put a bit more thought into the reaction such a tagline would attract.
Posted around the city of Brisbane, Australia the “Get off in Thailand” campaign promoting the airline’s direct route to Bangkok has not gone over well.
Collective Shout, a grassroots campaign movement that fights against the objectification of women, said that the campaign was promoting sex tourism in Thailand, home to over 123,530 sex workers, according to a 2014 UNAids report.
Melinda Liszewski, a campaigner at Collective Shout spotted the adverts on a Brisbane bus and posted the image to social media, accusing the Air Asia of “promoting sex tourism.”
“Get off in Thailand” a dog whistle promoting #sextourism brought to you by low budget low ethics airline @AirAsia
Bangkok is a hub of sexual exploitation of women & children & 250,000 western male sex tourists visit Thailand every year. Now its just so convenient! #Shame pic.twitter.com/gykb9a2oPI
— Melinda (@MelLiszewski) March 22, 2019
The ad also appears at the airport in Brisbane.
Hey @BrisbaneAirport – when is this dog whistle to sex tourists coming down? #Shame @AirAsia @brisbanecityqld https://t.co/J8oFWRcujb pic.twitter.com/Ybyv5jhqL4
— Coralie Alison (@CoralieAlison) March 25, 2019
Writing over at Collective Shout Liszewski said:
“32,000 Australian men visit Thailand each year for the explicit purpose of “sex” with impoverished women and children. “Sex” in these circumstances amounts to rape and child sexual abuse. This advertisement is for those men.”
A spokeswoman for Air Asia apologized in a statement to BBC: “AirAsia takes community feedback extremely seriously and the airline sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience caused from recent concerns raised.
“AirAsia can confirm the advertising campaign has ended and we instructed our media partners to have the advertising removed as soon as possible today from all locations.”
We now continue with our regularly scheduled programming.