New Delhi: AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes has landed in a controversy after he posted a picture of himself getting a shirtless massage while attending a virtual meeting with his company’s management. The picture, which he shared on Linkedin on October 16, has gone viral and has drawn criticism from many people who found it inappropriate and disrespectful.
In the picture, Fernandes can be seen sitting on a chair without a shirt and enjoying an oil massage from a masseuse. He is holding a laptop on his lap and is apparently engaged in a video conference with his colleagues. He captioned the picture, “It was a stressful weekend and Veranita Josephine suggested a massage. I love the culture of Indonesia and AirAsia that I can give a massage and I can do it in management meetings.”
The post has received thousands of reactions and comments from LinkedIn users, many of whom expressed their displeasure and disbelief at Fernandes’ behavior. Some called it “unprofessional”, “insane”, “disgusting”, and “shameful”. Some also questioned the work culture of AirAsia and the safety and comfort of its female employees.
One user commented, “You could have ended the meeting and then got yourself a massage. I don’t think this is appropriate in a civilized culture.” Another user wrote, “I don’t think the women at your company would feel comfortable or safe in this context and given that you’re the boss, they probably wouldn’t complain about it.”
Some users also pointed out the irony of Fernandes’ post, as he had recently apologized for the poor service quality of AirAsia amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He had also announced that he would take a pay cut to help the company survive the crisis.
Fernandes, who is known for his flamboyant and unconventional style, has not responded to the criticism yet. He is one of the most influential business leaders in Asia and has been credited with transforming AirAsia into a low-cost airline giant. He is also involved in various other ventures, such as sports, music, and e-commerce.