A man has been arrested in Paris for advertising a website which matches students with “sugar daddies” or “sugar mamas” who will finance their degree in exchange for “dates.”
A mobile billboard for the Norwegian “RichMeetBeautiful” site was positioned within the Sorbonne University campus.
The ad pictures a man lying on top of a young woman alongside the caption: “Hey students! Romance, passion and no student loan,” reports BBC.
Photographs of the billboard went viral online, leading Deputy mayor of Paris, Helene Bidard, to label the ad as a form of prostitution.
She explained that the main issue is the fact that this ad can be seen by minors, due to its location and is offensive.
An official tweet from the city’s account went out in response to the ad saying:
“We firmly condemn this shameful advertisement and we will work with the police to make it disappear from our streets.”
French police subsequently arrested the driver of the vehicle which showed the ad, who is reportedly facing charges for promoting prostitution, along with the site’s owners.
However, managers behind “RichMeetBeautiful” have defended themselves by claiming they are just like any other online dating service.
“It’s a classic misunderstanding,” claims Sigurd Vedal, founder of the site.
“We are like a normal dating site, but financial is part of the checklist,” he told a Belgian TV station.
A French student association have launched a criminal complaint in light of the ad, while others have launched a petition calling for ads such as these to be banned.
The website is still up and running and describes itself as “an online social Sugar Dating network for adult men and women above 18 years of age that seek a mutually satisfactory relationship for both parties.”
When signing up to the website’s services, “sugar babies” can state how much they’re looking to receive from their “sugar daddies” or “mamas” each month, from 862 to 8.620 Euros.