HARVEY Nichols has sparked a sexism row after displaying a sign in front of its London store saying 'great men go down'.
Rob McGibbon, a writer from Chelsea, London, tweeted a picture of the sign leading to the basement men's section – calling it 'lewd and offensive' and arguing the department store was showing double standards over sexism.
He wrote: "The anti-sexism debate must work both ways. It's not the double entendre that irks me, it's the double standard and casual hypocrisy. Eggshells for all."
He later added: "'Great Women Get On Their Knees' is certainly tongue in cheek and true, too. Would that be seen as fun as well?"
The argument sparked a heated debate on Twitter with some agreeing the sign would cause 'uproar' if it had been about women while others said it was clearly a joke.
One tweeted: "Maybe it's about time men started complaining about sexism."
Another posted: "The double standards is laughable! The outrage this would have cause if it had of been the other way about."
Defending the sign, one Twitter user wrote: "Alternatively we could just have a little giggle and not be as sensitive as the screaming permanently offended..come on let's be better than them. .or do we really live in a post joke world now?"
Another agreed: "This is what is wrong with society today, too many people have had a sense of humour transplant. For gods sake find something more productive to do with your time instead of complaining about everything trying to make yourself look like a 'model' citizen. It isn't working."
Speaking to Sun Online, Rob said he hoped the debate had made an 'important point' about sexism.
He said: "I find the degree of political correctness in this country depressing and way out of control. The fact that this poster even got on my radar is a symbol of that, but there is an important point here.
"My central complaint is not the joke – which is simply tacky and ill-judged, and shouldn’t be in a shop window – but the double standard and casual hypocrisy.
"There is no way Harvey Nichols would contemplate a similarly cheap and crude gag aimed at women.
"There would be an instant question telling them to avoid anything bad taste or derogatory towards women. Why shouldn’t the same standards be in place when it comes to men?
"The crass misery of political correctness has to work both ways. To adopt a saying – whatever is demeaning for the goose, is demeaning for the gander.
"On more important matters – why are so many men’s Fashion departments in the damn basement? Are we beneath women?"
A Harvey Nichols spokesman said: "The signage was designed to direct customers down to our menswear department which occupies the lower two floors of our Knightsbridge store.
"The copy used makes light of the location of the department. On the whole, we have received positive reactions from customers, with many people viewing it in the light-hearted manner it was intended.
"However, we recognise that our signature tongue-in-cheek humour may not be to everyone's tastes."
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