Getty Images, one of the world’s leading photo agencies, has apologised after it published a gallery of pictures titled “World Cup 2018: The Sexiest Fans”.
The agency’s chief executive, Dawn Airey, told Channel 4 News that the piece was “not appropriate or in any way consistent with our company values or beliefs”.
The gallery consisted entirely of female fans at the Russian World Cup.
Getty tweeted the piece, with the caption: “Soccer is known as the beautiful game, and that includes its fans. Check out photos of some of the sexiest of them here.”
It was widely criticised on Twitter, with the Women in Football account saying: “This is 2018….times are changing so why don’t you?”
But some people defended the piece, including one Twitter user who said: “Hot women! What is your problem? Can’t we enjoy beauty?”
Getty has now deleted the piece and replaced it with an apology. “Earlier, we published a piece, ‘World Cup 2018: The Sexiest Fans,’ that did not meet our editorial standards,” it says.
“We regret the error and have removed the piece. There are many interesting stories to tell about the World Cup and we acknowledge this was not one of them.”
Airey said she had been out of the country at the time and thanked Channel 4 News for bringing it to her attention.
She said: “We hold a deep belief in the power of visuals to incite change and shift attitudes and we have done, and will continue to do, much work to promote and create a more evolved and positive depiction of women.”