An oil company in Saudi Arabia has caused outrage after its innovative attempt to ensure public hygiene turned sour.
Oil giant Saudi Aramco came under fire after photos showing one of its migrant workers wearing a surgical mask and a large hand-sanitiser dispenser went viral on social media.
Twitter users described the images posted on Tuesday as “racist” and “classist” as the worker appeared to be walking around distributing sanitiser to staff members inside and outside one of its buildings.
One Twitter user, commenting on the images, said: “Gulf classism. A gift from Aramco”.
While some described the move as slavery “repackaged”, others said the person behind the idea needed to “sanitise their brain”.
In a statement released later on Tuesday, the company expressed its “strong dissatisfaction with this abusive behaviour that was used to emphasise the importance of sanitization, without the approval of the company’s concerned party”.
“The company immediately stopped this act and took strict measures to prevent it from happening again,” the statement said.
In response to Aramco’s statement, a Twitter user said the company needed to apologise to the “person himself” not to the public.
Saudi Arabia has been slammed for its human rights record and its treatment of migrant workers.
They make up a large chunk of the workforce across the region, which includes the Gulf Cooperation Council bloc of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.