An advertising campaign trying to pair up struggling students with "sugar daddies" and "sugar mamas" has sparked outrage in Paris, reports LCI.
The ad, first spotted on a billboard carried on a trailer on 23 October, was issued by website RichMeetBeautiful. It advertises to students directly and the trailer was spotted near several universities in the city.
The ad reads: "Hey students! Romance, passion and no student loans, go out with a sugar daddy, sugar mama."
The aim of the website is to link young students to older men and women in exchange of money. RichMeetBeautiful goes into detail about what makes a sugar baby, daddy or mama, and advertises the service as a way of: "Creating Your Vision of Life, setting Your Goals of Life, and of course defining your Relationship Conditions."
It also adds that "money is no issue when it comes to supporting their sugar baby."
The campaign experienced a backlash from the City of Paris, with deputy Mayor Bruno Juillard calling it "despicable."
Another deputy, Helene Bidard, who is in charge of Equality between Men and Women, tweeted that: "In addition to being a public disturbance that the underaged can see, this website is a form of violence against women. Behind these glossy pictures, young people can end up in the prostitution world." She also referred the matter to the public prosecutor to obtain the definitive closure of the website.
Paris' City Hall said in a tweet that they strongly "condemn this shameful ad" and were working with Paris' police headquarters to "make it disappear" from the city's streets.
The Minister for Higher Education, Frederique Vidal, said that the ad "was nothing more than invitation to prostitution."
President of the political party EELV (Europe Ecology - The Greens) said the website, which earns money on the back of the people it puts in contact with each other, is nothing short of "pimping."
It is not the first time RichMeetBeautiful has faced criticism. In September, its campaign experienced the same backlash in Brussels, where it showcased the same offensive billboards.
The website's Norwegian CEO, Sigurd Vedal, caved under the pressure of student associations and academics and finally took down the ads.