Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's nationalized oil company, is a massive entity.
In December 2019, Aramco debuted on the stock market with an Initial Public Offering valuing the company at around $1.9 trillion.
But for all Saudi Aramco's monetary strides and capitalist successes, it has evidently overlooked public relations. With the Coronavirus sweeping across the globe at alarming rates (125,865 confirmed cases and 4615 reported deaths globally, at time of writing) a large workplace is an obvious cause for concern.
Given that washing hands regularly is just about the best way to minimize the spread of COVID-19, companies, like Saudi Aramco, are attempting to be a part of the solution.
That said, OPTICS ARE EVERYTHING.
Sure, Saudi Aramco did provide the hygienic means appropriate to the situation. That is absolutely a gesture of corporate responsibility.
But Aramco's approach has NOT been well received.
As the tweet captions articulate, there is another problematic layer at play beyond the mere fact that this man has been literally objectified, disproportionately placed in close proximity to germs before they're wiped away by the liquid of his costume.
Responses invited the suspicion that this man's race and country of origin had everything to do with why he of all people was chosen to be a mere tool of the workplace.
The outrage eventually swelled to such a degree that Saudi Aramco was forced to make a public statement regarding the PR faux pas.
While the statement was only written in Arabic, Buzzfeed News reports that the statement apologized to the general public for the "very dissatisfying" decision. The post did not, according to Buzzfeed, apologized to the man himself or provide any information about who made the decision and why.