Airline exec strips down after criticism

Nov. 18, 2008 at 9:41 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The head of Irish airline Ryanair posed in a swimsuit for publicity photos after an advertising watchdog accused the company of marketing with "naked girls."

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of the low-budget airline, appeared in swimsuit-clad publicity photos after Tobias Eltell, secretary for the Swedish Ethical Council against Sexism in Advertising, or ERK, criticized the company's 2009 "Girls of Ryanair" calendar, The Local reported Tuesday.

"He seems to think that naked girls and his air company have a connection," Eltell said of O'Leary's calendar plans.

However, O'Leary said none of the Ryanair employees featured in the calendar posed nude.

"Our cabin crew are all dressed in bikinis and we have never featured any naked pictures. This group are hopelessly out of touch with reality -- next year we will commission a Girls in Burkas Calendar just for the politically correct thought police at the ERK," he said.

O'Leary further challenged his critics with publicity photos featuring him in a swimsuit.

"Ryanair has defended the right of girls (and boys) to strip off for charity with Michael O'Leary (also known as Miss Fly Free) donning 'sexy' swimwear to join cabin crew calendar stars Charlotte (Miss Wild) and Ingrid (Miss Mechanic)," the company said in a statement Tuesday.

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