The controversial Ethical Oil ads, which enjoyed an exclusive run on the Oprah Winfrey Network at the end of August, have earned a new enemy: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The tar sands industry ad campaign, which criticizes our reliance on oil imports from Saudi Arabia due to its poor human rights record, tells viewers that choosing between women’s rights and tar sands expansion is “a choice we must make”.
The ads argue instead that intensifying tar sands production will actually help liberate women from oppressive petrocracies like Saudi Arabia. They also imply that we must support the controversial Keystone XL pipeline because it will decrease our reliance on “conflict oil”.
According to the ads, “We bankrolled a state that doesn’t allow women to drive, doesn't allow them to leave their homes or work without their male guardian’s permission and a state where a woman’s testimony only accounts for half of a man’s”.
A female voice pleads to the viewer, “Why are we paying their bills and funding their oppression?”
The ad has angered Saudi Arabia, who in response sent a cease and desist letter to Telecaster Services from the Television Bureau of Canada, demanding approval for the ads be withdrawn.