A Norwegian CEO who ran poster campaigns trying to recruit young women to become “sugar babies” to older men outside university campuses has been charged with “public incitement to debauchery” in Belgium.
Sigurd Vedal, 47, began his ‘Rich Meet Beautiful’ website in Scandinavia, launching a recruitment drive to expand the business in Belgium in 2018 with a promise to provide young when with a “Fifty Shades of Grey” experience, according to the Guardian.
Vedal placed billboards recruiting for the website near university campuses, causing the Université Libre de Bruxelles to complain.
“We presumed the existence of a sexual counterpart to the registration on this site,” a spokesman for the institution told the newspaper.
“The message is: ‘you’re young, you’re beautiful, go out with a sugar daddy!’ Everyone understands what it’s about,” they added.
In response, the Belgian authorities are now charging the CEO with violating anti-sexism laws, debauchery, and public incitement to debauchery.
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Vedal’s lawyer Eric Cusas said Rich Meet Beautiful was not about sex, describing it as “a specialised site aimed at bringing certain people together with a nice physique and others who are well-off” and insisting that any perceived sexual element was “only in the eye of the observer”.
Some of the posters show a woman lying prone in her bra with her eyes closed and her mouth open, with a shirtless man bearing down on top of her from behind.
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Vedal has also run poster campaigns in the United Kingdom, targeting universities including the City of London Law School, London School of Economics (LSE), and Kings College London in an attempt to recruit 100,000 users.
“It’s disgusting. It should be illegal for these perverts to pray on youngsters like this,” a student at one of the universities told MailOnline.
“University is expensive, we all know that, and I’m in a massive amount of debt.
“But me and my friends would never turn to prostitution in order to reduce that, and these sorts of websites are tantamount to that — it’s exploitative and wrong,” she said.
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