Ikea's Sexist TV Ad Tells Women They Are Nothing Without A Boyfriend

The company apologized "for giving the wrong perception" with the ad in mainland China and stopped airing it.

Ikea is catching heat for a sexist television commercial in mainland China that it has now pulled from the air.

The Swedish furniture company’s ad shows a mother berating her 20-something daughter for not bringing a boyfriend home for dinner. She tells the young woman not to call her “mom” if she fails to bring someone back for the next meal, per the BBC.

A man who the daughter claims is her partner then suddenly arrives at the door, and her parents react in delight ― surrounded by Ikea products.

The implication that the woman is nothing to her mother unless she has a boyfriend riled some viewers. They labelled Ikea’s 30-second spot, above, “sexist” and “twisted,” reports Global News.

Critics also accused Ikea of making light of the stigma surrounding single women in China, who are often scorned as “leftover women” if they don’t marry by age 27. 

Ikea apologized for the tone-deaf ad over Weibo, China’s Twitter-like micro-blogging service, on Tuesday:

We understand the concern caused by this TV advertisement and sincerely apologize for giving the wrong perception,” the company wrote. Ikea “encourages people to live many different lifestyles” and sees gender equality as a “fundamental part” of its culture and values, the statement said.

Linda Xu, Ikea’s China spokeswoman, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the ad had been “withdrawn from all channels.”

The founder of Chinese retail consultancy Nofashion, Tang Xiaotang, told the South China Morning Post that foreign companies should be “very careful” when it came to topics “related to nationalism and women’s rights” in China because “both are areas of high sensitivity.”