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We support sexual harassment: Pakistani businessman

Waleed Zaman has come under fire on social media for his comments during a movie premiere

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Dubai: Protesters showed up at the premiere of Pakistani movie ‘Teefa in Trouble’ in Lahore yesterday, calling for a boycott of the movie, and one of the guests attending has caused a social media stir.

Waleed Zaman, the creative director of Kayseria — a popular Pakistani clothing brand, was attending the premiere of the movie, which protesters were asking for a boycott for on account of the movie’s lead actor Ali Zafar and Pakistani actress Meesha Shafi’s sexual harassment case.

When asked why he was at the premiere, Zaman said: “Because we support the sexual harassment of women.”

This was caught on video, which has since gone viral. Social media users in Pakistan are furious after watching the video and are asking for a boycott on his brand.

Tweep @iayeshapervaiz wrote: “There should and must be zero tolerance towards people who are in support of sexual or any other kind of harassment against women. There is no justification for this kind of insensitivity. #Shame #WaleedZaman”

@MavraZehra tweeted: “#WaleedZaman proving once again the insensitivity towards the highly sensitive topic! Making jokes at the expense of someone’s plight is just not okay.”

Tweep @dezolationrow wrote: “There is so much aggression, filth and absolute and utter insensitivity towards women, their sentiments, their plight, the #metoo movement, and a complete lack of respect towards peaceful protesters in Waleed Zaman’s words. I cannot emphasise enough on how infuriated I am.”

@FariaSays tweeted: “Bashing will do nothing, we should boycott #WaleedZaman’s brands. This is the right way to show him where he is standing.”

@meemelif added: “People claiming Waleed Zaman’s tone was “sarcastic”, please tell me how is sexual harassment a joke to you? That is a pathetic excuse to rationalise his indifferent and extremely offensive behaviour.”

Soon after the video was viral and #WaleedZaman started trending, the business owner posted an apology on his Facebook page.

He wrote: “I want to deeply apologise for my insensitive, terrible statement... My wife was being threatened, harassed and provoked by the protestors and I reacted badly as I was extremely upset and angry at her being singled out and bullied. I lashed out with the first thing I could think of to sound nasty and vicious as I felt helpless.”

However, social media users are not buying it. Many of them point out that it was a peaceful protest and the crowd that had gathered was at a distance from Zaman and his wife.

Tweep @Lanaschild_ wrote: “This just doesn’t cut it. I want Waleed Zaman’s resignation. We should ALL demand it!”

@Fatmounh tweeted: “Saviour of his wife, defender of wife’s rights and husband of the year Waleed Zaman thought, ‘hey this is the most opportune moment to say something heroic like, “We support the sexual harassment of women, Haha”. I’ll defend it later by saying they were attacking my wife’.”

Tweep @GumbyAKhan wrote: “Not sure how Waleed Zaman’s comment is defensible. His apology might have sounded genuine if he’d at least been truthful instead of presenting his wife as a lousy defense. Who’d say that, if your wife was being harassed?”

@haseemuzzaman shared a screengrab from the video and tweeted: “Can you see the distance? The peaceful protestors are at the very least some 10 feet away from #WaleedZaman’s wife and at least three feet away from #WaleedZaman himself.”

Since the incident, the brand Kayseria has shared an official statement on its Facebook page.

They wrote: “We are a female clothing brand and more than 50 per cent of the work force comprises of women. We support all women and protect their rights. All power to women.”

This was also not received well by Facebook users. The post has over 100 comments, majority of which are mocking the brand.

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