Phone company Telia threatened in Norway after empowerment advert

FILE PHOTO: Telia sign is seen on a building in Vilnius, Lithuania March 30, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

OSLO (Reuters) – Norwegian police are investigating a threat made against telecoms company Telia after a commercial that used themes of sexual equality and empowerment caused an online backlash.

The threat was made in writing, according to the police who gave no further details and did not say where it had come from.

“We can confirm that a threat has been made against Telia,” the Swedish company’s Norwegian unit said in a statement. “We do not wish to speculate what the reason is, except that it is directly linked to our ongoing campaign Freedom.”

The commercial is a montage of scenes that include a gay marriage, children dancing, and a woman wearing a Muslim head scarf next to another taking one off, backed by Pharrell Williams’ song “Freedom”.

Telia acknowledged there had been some backlash online.

The YouTube page showing the video had several comments suggesting the advert was Islamophobic.

“This is racist commercial. I hope the whole world can understand that Muslim women feel free and safe wearing a hijab … you’ll lose many Telia customers,” one read.

“We’re in close dialogue with Telia but see no reason to worry,” police operations leader Tor Joekling told Norwegian daily VG, adding that none of Telia’s stores had been shut as a result of the threat.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik, Nerijus Adomaitis and Victoria Klesty; Editing by Robin Pomeroy


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