Those of you who’ve seen my blogs on Ryanair’s annual charity calendar, which feature female staff posing in skimpy bikinis, will know that, for me, this is little more than a cheap bid by Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary to boost his company’s profits. He claims that the main purpose of these calendars is to raise money for organisations such as KIDS in the UK and Tafel in Germany. But if this is true then why, I ask myself, the need for girls in bikinis?
In the wake of the launch of Ryanair’s 2011 edition of the calendar, I suggested to Mr. O’Leary that it might be more appropriate next time round if he, rather than his cabin staff, dressed up in next to nothing and took part in a sexy beach photo shoot.
He has so far declined to comment. However, later this morning I will have the chance to speak to Michael O’Leary directly. BBC Radio 4’s Women Hour will be hosting a debate between me and O’Leary, which means that for the first time I’ll be able to challenge his response to my comments that his charity calendars are sexualising the airline industry. O’Leary, who has never had a particularly profound way with words, dubbed me ‘anti-fun’ when my comments first hit the press two years ago.
You can listen to this debate here live at 10am.