KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — Inti University and Colleges today issued an apology and took full responsibility for a controversial poster on its Facebook page celebrating International Women’s Day that was criticised as “sexist” by Internet users.
The poster uploaded on Sunday was viewed by nearly 2,500 people and shared over 300 times before it was removed earlier today.
“INTI International University & Colleges apologises for the distress caused by a recent International Women’s Day post,” its vice-president of marketing Timothy Johnson said in an email reply to Malay Mail Online this evening, which mirrored its apology post on the university’s Facebook page.
Johnson did not answer questions on the idea for the poster.
It is understood the message on the poster was taken from a book by American comedian Steve Harvey, as well as a film based on the book, in which he dispenses relationship advice.
According to the comedian, his book does not tell women to think like a man, but to know how men think so they can get what they want in a relationship.
Inti's Jhonson only said his university partners several agencies but was silent over questions on its design development, whether it was created in-house or by a third party.
“INTI, like many other companies, works with a range of partner agencies. However, the responsibility of any campaign lies with the organisation and INTI takes full responsibility for the said post,” he said.
Johnson added that additional measures have been implemented to ensure that future posts do not see a repeat of the backlash.
“As an organisation, we will ensure appropriate measures are in place for future campaigns,” he said.
Included in Inti’s apology was a pledge to donate RM10,000 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) Welfare Fund as a “gesture of goodwill.”
“As a gesture of goodwill, we will donate RM10,000 to the UNHCR Refugee Welfare Fund in aid of women refugees in Malaysia. INTI supports gender equality and does not condone any form of gender bias,” the apology Facebook post read.
Inti has garnered significant backlash after uploading a poster on it’s Facebook page on Sunday which read “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss.”
A significant portion of the commentators criticised the poster as “sexist”, adding that Inti was perpetuating gender stereotypes and inequality.