Under the hashtag “AIRATP”, the accompanying text apes an airline announcement for a steward safety presentation.
“Safety demonstrations in the RER (suburban line) are presented to you by our hostesses. Please pay them a few moments of your attention. Thank you,” it wrote, with a smiley.
However, many French took offence at what they saw as unacceptable sexism dressed up as humour, with one slamming the clip as depicting “caricatures reduced to their bodies and airhead smiles” – a “flock” of women behind male leaders.
Giampetro Morisi, one commentator, wrote: “How saddening to see the sexism of this campaign.”
The women, he went on, are “directed by the men as they were orchestral conductors – when I look at the way these guys carry on I can’t believe it”.
Claire Carrara wrote: “Can we have the same again but less sexist. Thank you.” She added a hashtag saying “1950s”.
Others regretted the lack of diversity among the actors and that real public transport staff were not asked to take part.
“In 2016 is it normal that all the pilots are men and hostesses women and that they are all white?” asked Rachel Farge.
Stung by such accusations, the RATP responded that it was “really sorry that video seems sexist” to some viewers.
It added that the men taking part were not pilots but stewards given jackets to make them “more recogniseable”.
“Stewards were present during the event and they mimed the (safety) measures like their (female) colleagues. We grant you that this can’t be seen in this video. Without this uniform it didn’t work.”
In another, separate clip on its Facebook page, one female “hostess” plays all the parts, including those of male passengers, ending with the message: “A serious accident every day due to a lack of attention.”