Nihon TV said Sunday it decided to take down two online videos that explained the rules of rugby, after fans of the sport complained that they inappropriately featured scantily clad women.
The two videos, featured on a website for September’s Rugby World Cup, received numerous online comments criticizing them as using an “unpleasant form of expression,” according to the network.
The videos feature several women in swimwear-like clothing performing rugby plays with a ball and explaining the rules, according to Nihon TV.
One tweet blasted the videos for “only repeating close-ups of the women’s breasts and buttocks and their slow-motion footage.” Another said “they’ve gone too far in making a fool of rugby.”
“We are very sorry for giving trouble to many rugby fans,” said a Nihon TV representative.
Nihon TV will cover the event, which starts Sept. 18, on its terrestrial broadcasts. The network said the videos were intended to provide easy-to-understand explanations of rugby rules to people unfamiliar with the sport.
Tsuyoshi Hirao, 40, who used to play for Japan’s national rugby team, said in a tweet on Sunday that he was “beyond anguish” and was “disappointed” over the videos.
“I feel like rugby, the sport I have been playing for long, has been mocked and spit at,” he tweeted. “I can’t let this pass by.”
This isn’t the first time a rugby how-to video has caused a fuss.
In 2011, deodorant-maker Lynx created an ad featuring women covered in body oil, wearing short tops and swimsuit shorts to explain the rules of rugby. The ad was produced to coincide with the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand that year.