Yesterday, MMA gear company “Manto” posted a sneak preview of a photo from an upcoming photo shoot with two female models grappling. Unfortunately, this NSFW advertisement (which you can look at here  if you are over 18) included a bare nipple poking out from one of the participants!
On the “Manto” facebook page, the company offered an apology: “The “mma themed” photoshoot was organized by one of mainstream’s men’s magazine for which we were asked to provide gear and mat space. We had no creative control over the photoshoot. 2. Our comment to the picture posted was aimed at rather unconventional “back control technique” when the model rather then locking her hands to secure the grip was more interested in holding the opponent’s breast. Admittedly, the choice of words was unfortunate and we can now see that it may and have offended number of people, for which we are genuinely SORRY. In no way we were trying to be disrespectful towards female jiu jitsu practioners or women in general. The goal was for the post to be sarcastic, not sexist. 3. Despite 95% of our range being men’s products, we have for years been sponsoring (also with cash, which not many other brands do for women competitors) multiple female athletes at both amateur and professional levels, and we will continue to do so. To all offended once again: sorry.”
All problems seemed to cool off with that explanation. However, Manto owner Alberto Marchetti decided to weigh in with some additional comments that have caused even more of an uproar:
I wouldn’t have apologized, the photo shoot is not intended for women, it’s for men. Men don’t need to apologize because they like sexy women! It’s the 21st century! If women’s skin offends u too bad for you!
Later, he added this statement:
I think a lot of the women who posted here made what at a glance appeared like valid statements, but at a closer look they are making a simple but crucial mistake: they are fighting against nature itself! Women are sex objects to men, just as men are sex objects to women. That’s the nature of the game, and we must thank the Great Architect for that, or none of us will be here now!”
Oh, but wait, there is more misogyny after the jump!
Women/Men are definitely more than that, but when it comes to 1+1 and simple essence of a human being the attraction towards the other sex is one of the strongest impulses next to hunger and fear of death.
In my opinion women are portrayed in the media the way they want to be portrayed. There are publications that talk about successful business women just as there are ones that talk about the sex appeal women have on men, but then again how many women do you see buying Business Week at the news stand? They have a choice, no one is forcing them, $5 in their pockets, but which magazine will they buy to read on the plane?
Remember, media is a reflection of a societies’ desires, not vice versa.
Women’s news, celebrity, and fashion website Jezebel  wrote to the company directly, and got this response from a spokesperson:
Thank you for contacting us regarding the “controversial” photoshoot that we don’t find that controversial at all- after 5 minutes research you will find that ALL (yes, all of them) fight wear companies are using “sexy” semi-naked models in their PR (ads, hostesses at the booths and events etc) and most of men’s magazines (playboy, maxim, fhm,men’s health, ufc magazine etc etc) are producing similar photoshoots very often. Again- please remember that the photoshoot was not organized by our company- we have just provided gear and space.
Alberto Marchetti is MANTO distributor in the US. He didn’t have prior knowledge and wasn’t in any way involved in the photoshoot that took place in Europe, and he actually only found out about it once it was published in the magazine. In the comments he wrote regarding the photoshoot he was only representing himself not the brand MANTO, just like many other male and female commentators on our facebook page. You know our brand’s opinion on this case from the explanation we have posted.
To summarize, the company was not exactly in control of the ad since someone else shot it, and it is acceptable because of that, and that women are sex objects according to their US distributor, which is also an acceptable stance for a business. Sarcasm meter is going off the charts! The problem I have with all of this is not necessarily the photo, but the blame going around for it. Even if “Manto” was not part of the shoot officially, they supplied the gear and I am unsure of how many companies would not want to see the final result before it goes to print, since I would imagine most businesses would want to make sure it fit the tone of their company and approve of it.
The other problem is Mr. Marchetti, who is rationalizing this in the most misogynistic way possible. Really, this could have been solved very easily with a single apology for those that were offended, and this would not be an issue. However, with Mr. Marchetti continuing to speak out about the subject, he is putting himself in a negative position, even if he “was only representing himself not the brand MANTO”. This is just poor business conduct, and it’s too bad since I really liked Manto’s products before this happened. What do you guys think about this? Is the blogosphere over-reacting, or is there just cause in their response to how the company is handling this situation?