On March 10, hundreds of people shared photos showing an Asian employee of the Saudi petrol company Aramco dressed up as a dispenser for hand sanitizer. People across the Arab world denounced the humiliation of this employee, calling his treatment an affront to human dignity. 

The photos show a man with Asian features dressed up as a dispenser for hand sanitizer as part of a campaign to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the offices of the Saudi oil company Aramco. The man also wears a surgical mask. 

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“A scandalous affront to human dignity”

These images went viral on Twitter where hundreds of people from across the Arab world denounced the “humiliating treatment” of the man in the costume. 
“A scandalous affront to human dignity,” reads this tweet from Saudi journalist and activist Turki Al-Shalhoub.. 

Another social media user seemed surprised that the company didn’t just set up a normal dispenser somewhere in the building: “Only in Saudi Arabia is an employee required to wear a dispenser on his person and go around to staff members. An appalling scene of class prejudice and backwards thinking.” 

The man dressed up as disinfectant seems pained to have to wear the costume, as several people pointed out on social media. 

“All of the people implicated in this horrible, inhuman initiative need to be brought to justice”

On the evening of March 10, Aramco posted a statement on Twitter condemning “this inappropriate initiative.” While the company guessed that the initiative was almost certainly “meant to raise awareness about washing hands”, they said that it was run without the authorization of “the appropriate departments within the company.” 
In a second tweet, the Saudi petrol giant said that it had put a stop to the campaign and had put in place measures to avoid this kind of incident in the future. 

One person who commented on Aramco’s tweet was Mohamed Al Qadi, an activist who has 23,000 followers: “It’s not enough to just end this. All of the people implicated in this horrible, inhuman initiative need to be brought to justice. The employee should be given both financial compensation and an apology, in the hopes of making up, if just a bit, for the treatment that he endured.”

Article written by Omar Tiss.