Protein World boss labels feminist campaigners 'terrorists'

Over 40,000 people have signed a petition asking for the posters to be removed

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The boss of a protein powder company, who is facing a backlash over a controversial poster featuring a bikini-clad woman, has labelled campaigners as terrorists.

The advert for meal replacement supplements featured on London Underground billboards shows a blonde woman in a yellow bikini, beside the tagline: "Are you beach body ready"?

Feminist campaigners, who have launched a Change.Org petition to see the adverts removed, have slammed them for "targeting individuals, aiming to make them feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product."

Read more: Protein World revels in sexist backlash
Thousands sign petition calling for removal of 'body shaming' ads

Petitioners added that "everyone has an individual body shape", and asked the firm: "what is 'Beach Body Ready'? And who would not be?"

Meanwhile, others have taken a stand against the poster by tweeting their thoughts alongside #everybodysready, or by scrawling words including "f*** off" across the image.

Bloggers Fiona Longmuir and Tara Costello posed in their bikinis in front of the sign

But Arjun Seth, the chief executive of Protein World, continued to defend the poster, and told Channel 4 that the people complaining online and destroying adverts were a minority and “terrorists”.

He added that the people campaigning against the ads were: “extremist, they shout a lot, these people are irrational and extremist,” and said that “vandalising adverts” amounted to criminal activity.

Defending the adverts as "aspirational", he said that he would only pay attention to the petition if it garnered 1,000,000 signatures.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received 216 complaints about the ad, and a spokeswoman said the general nature of the complaints is that the ad is "offensive, irresponsible and harmful because it promotes an unhealthy body image".

An investigation has not been launched but the ASA said they are "carefully assessing" the complaints to "establish if there are grounds for further action".

Additional reporting by PA