MANILA (UPDATE) - Ride-hailing firm Grab on Tuesday took down a Facebook ad showing photos of women at one time or another linked to actor Gerald Anderson, who is now embroiled in an alleged cheating controversy.
The ad, meant to promote Grab's 6-seater service, was taken down 8 minutes after it was posted.
Photos of actresses Julia Barretto, Maja Salvador, Pia Wurtzbach, Kim Chiu, Sarah Geronimo and Bea Alonzo were featured in the post with the caption: "Walang kailangang maiwan. Walang kailangang masaktan. Sa GrabCar 6-seater, pwedeng magsabay-sabay."
(No one should be left behind. No one should be hurt. With GrabCar 6-seater, everybody can go together.)
The featured actresses were, at some point, linked to Anderson.
It received mixed reactions from netizens, with many clicking the "angry" emoji, some saying it was of poor taste, and others asking the firm to take down the post.
Alonzo went viral over the weekend after posting a cryptic Instagram post with the caption: "You can’t make the same mistake twice, the second time you make it, it’s not a mistake anymore, it’s a choice. ENOUGH."
Grab immediately apologized through another post.
"We were in no way encouraging nor condoning disrespect for women and disrespect within relationships... Thank you for reminding us what not to be," the firm said.
In a statement issued later Tuesday, Grab reiterated its sorry, saying it was in fact supporting the women's cause.
"While our intent was to create relevant conversations, we failed to do so, and regret that the effect of the post was insensitive and offensive - something that does not reflect our values at Grab. While this isolated incident may have misrepresented our position on women's rights, we remain to be a steadfast supporter and advocate of the welfare of women everywhere," it said.
It apologized to the six celebrities whose photos were featured in the post and to their fans, saying it would reach out to the women to say sorry.
"We have learned significant lessons from this experience, and we are taking internal actions to ensure that we prevent this from happening again. Our prime focus remains to be in providing delightful and meaningful conversations between Grab and the Filipino people."