Ryanair forced to scrap controversial 'sexist' ads

The U.K's budget airline Ryanair has been forced to scrap a controversial advertising campaign featuring scantily-clad models for being "sexist".

Sky New reports that the promotion, which ran last November in British newspapers with the slogan "Red Hot Fares & Crew", was yanked by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)--U.K.'s independent advertising consumer watchdog -- after it sparked widespread complaints.

The ASA said one image, entitled "Ornella February", which showed a model pulling down the top of her pants with a thumb, was particularly "sexually suggestive".

Ryanair said the promotion, which took images from its 2012 cabin crew charity calendar, and says the pictures were not sexist because staff had volunteered to produce the images.  It said the ad was to help "promote" the charity calendar and that it did not consider the pictures to "unsuitable for public display."

The ASA didn't agree, saying that "most readers would interpret these images, in conjunction with the text "Red Hot Fares & Crew!!!" and the names of the women, as linking female cabin crew with sexually suggestive behavior," says Sky.

Complaints included some from the airline's staff .  One person named Ghada reportedly started an online campaign to ban the ads, promoting thousands of complaints in the U.K.. In November when she launched the campaign she wrote: "My work colleagues, many of whom are male, work hard with me to ensure the safety of our passengers. Safety is our number-one priority, not the brand of our underwear."

The advertisement have now been banned by the ASA.