Subaru Emirates apology misses the point, says car safety campaigner

Subaru Emirates apology is dismissed as fire control

A screen grab of Subaru Emirates Facebook page

A screen grab of Subaru Emirates Facebook page

An apology by Subaru Emirates has been dismissed as “fire control” by critics, while Lesley Cully the founder of the Buckle Up In The Back campaign in the UAE has told CMME that it lacks sincerity from what was “an overtly sexist post on what was a tragic crash”.

Subaru Emirates has faced criticism today after a picture of a crash where four people were killed, including a nine month old baby, appeared on its Facebook page with the caption of “Women driver at it again”.

The post has also drawn complaints on the social media sites for a final paragraph that read: “Well RTA cannot put extra parameters for women to check their presence of mind during crisis situation while driving, its (sic) all about being responsible drivers.” 

An apology posted this afternoon on the page was dismissed as lacking sincerity by several commentators despite the company reiterating that it “didn’t intend to offend anyone” and “sincere apologies once again”.

Buckle Up In The Back’s Lesley Cully told CMME that any business needs to “think and then think again” before posting any social media updates that could generate comment.

“Otherwise they find themselves in the position Subaru are in where an apology is necessary,” she said. “The fact remains that social media and its users are incredibly up to speed and want correct, accurate attention to everything. The fact then that their ‘apology’ is apologising that others were offended by what was written rather than apologising for what they actually wrote is interesting. It’s a subtle difference between a genuine “look we’re very sorry” and a “we have to do this to get over the furore. They seem to have rather stoked the fire rather than putting the flames out.”

Buckle Up In The Back is a UAE-based non-profit organisation that was set up by Lesley Cully in 2010 to encourage greater education of road safety issues. As the name suggest, the campaign seeks to highlight the importance of ensuring children wear seatbelts when travelling as passengers.

“The UAE has an incredibly high death rate for car crashes and sadly the sight of police and emergency services attending scenes on our roads is not an uncommon one,” said Cully. “As a campaign I am interested in causes and statistics as they often help in knowing where to target efforts of education and highlight what can be done. What I do have a problem with, is a major car company using their social media to write an overtly sexist post on what was a tragic crash.”

According to Cully, the situation was “made worse by the company then continuing to defend their post” without accepting they’d made a mistake.

“I am not interested in the race, creed or sex of anyone involved in a crash, I’d rather know what can be learned to prevent it happening again,” she remarked.

“We all have a responsibility when it comes to safety on the roads and more so when you are representing a car manufacturer. The UAE has three times the global death rate for children under 14 and it’s a statistic we all need to own and work at reducing by our own driving and being aware of others. There is a general lack of personal responsibility and this needs to change both on our roads and on business. Subaru need to accept they were wrong and learn from it. That would do so much to move on and prove they are a reputable company rather than try and muscle their way out.”

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