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'Offensive' ad lands Amen in hot water

Servers and semi-naked women - whatever next?

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Amen Ltd - the European Web hosting outfit acquired by VIA NET.WORKS in January - has pulled a mucky magazine ad following complaints from readers.

The ad pictured a semi-naked woman wearing a mask under the headline "BOUND TO SERVE". Accompanying the provocative pose it said: "Take control of your very own dedicated server 100% LINUX, 100% DEDICATED".

Six people complained that the ad was "offensive", because it featured a woman in "a degrading and subservient posture".

Amen said it didn't believe the ad was offensive and gave assurances that the model "had consented to being depicted in that manner".

Nonetheless, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the use of a semi-naked masked woman in conjunction with the headline "BOUND TO SERVE" was likely to cause "serious or widespread offence".

Amen has since pulled the ad.

Last week the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) began carrying out a "major investigation" to discover why there are so few women working in the ICT sector.

An earlier report had revealed that the number of women working in the industry had fallen recently from 23 per cent to 20 per cent. Part of this was blamed on the industry's "poor image", particularly among girls who might otherwise be attracted to work in the industry. ®

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