Airline CEO Posts Shirtless Pic on LinkedIn, Lives to Regret It

AirAsia's Tony Fernandes' picture showed him shirtless, getting a massage during business meeting
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2023 9:08 AM CDT
Airline CEO Draws Flak for Going Shirtless on LinkedIn
Tony Fernandes speaks during an AirAsia event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Jan. 28, 2022.   (AP Photo)

LinkedIn is for endorsements, job leads, and motivational industry articles—not for posting topless photos of yourself receiving a rubdown during a business meeting. The head of AirAsia is finding that out after he did the latter, in a perhaps misguided attempt to brag about some of the perks of working for the airline. "Was a stressful week," Tony Fernandes wrote Monday on LinkedIn, per USA Today. "Got to love Indonesia and AirAsia culture that I can have a massage and do a management meeting." Included with his post was a picture of Fernandes with no shirt on, a masseuse with a face mask behind him and working on his shoulders and upper back (check out the photo here).

The 59-year-old Fernandes, described by the BBC as "Malaysia's answer to [Virgin group founder] Richard Branson," soon faced the ridicule of the working world over the photo, which drew immediate backlash. "Unprofessional," "inappropriate," and "absurd" were just some of the adjectives commenters threw out online over the image, with one person observing, "Some CEOs need to stay off LinkedIn." Another pointed out how the picture could cause discomfort for AirAsia's female employees, writing, "I don't think the women in your company would feel comfortable or safe in this context, and given you're the boss, they likely won't challenge you or say anything."

Fernandes tells Bloomberg that he'd just come off of an 18-hour flight and was feeling achy, and that someone at work had suggested the massage. "You can never really explain the thought process behind a post, so I deleted it. I didn't mean to offend anyone," Fernandes tells the outlet, which notes Fernandes "has never been one to dwell on protocol." Not everyone was upset with his antics. One commenter wrote of Fernandes' bare-chested reveal: "I applaud this brave man for being an agent of change in the body positivity movement. We should celebrate all body shapes and sizes!" (More AirAsia stories.)

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