Brands reviled for HK star link

By Ding Xuezhen Source:Global Times Published: 2016-6-6 0:53:01

Listerine, L’Oreal boycotted over ties to Denise Ho

Net users from the Chinese mainland began an online boycott of L'Oreal and Listerine products on Saturday over the two companies' alleged commercial ties with controversial Hong Kong singer Denise Ho Wan-see.

Lancome, a brand of beauty products manufactured by L'Oreal, met with substantial criticism on the mainland's social media on Saturday after Ho posted Thursday on Facebook that she would attend a promotional event for the brand in Hong Kong on June 19.

Many Sina Weibo netizens voiced their anger over the company's commercial connection with Ho, who they claim constantly makes "inappropriate and unpleasant" remarks about the mainland on Facebook.

On Saturday evening, Lancome issued a statement on Weibo that Ho is not a spokesperson for the brand.

The statement had received over 550,000 page views as of press time.

Netizens urged Lancome to issue the statement on Facebook in addition to Sina Weibo and requested that the brand ask Ho not to attend the promotion.

A similar statement made on the official Facebook account of the brand's Hong Kong branch on Sunday clarified that Ho was simply invited to share her music at the event.

Listerine, a maker of mouthwash and other dental hygiene products, also came under fire for its relationship with Ho after a Listerine ad featuring the singer went viral Saturday.

It is not the first time that the Hong Kong singer has triggered controversy in the mainland.

On May 13, Ho posted pictures of her meeting with the 14th Dalai Lama in Japan on Facebook, calling it a "happy moment," a move that incurred widespread criticism on the mainland's social media.

Ho also announced in January that she would close her online shop on Chinese e-commerce platform, claiming to follow the actions of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, who reportedly began pulling investment funds out of the Chinese mainland in September 2015. Li's company denied the divestment accusations later that month, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Several other Hong Kong celebrities have been the subject of recent boycotts by Chinese Net users for remarks and actions deemed politically "inappropriate" after the Occupy Central movement.

In January, Wong Hei, former star of several TV series produced by Hong Kong's TVB, irritated mainland Net users for reportedly posting "inappropriate" content on Hong Kong-mainland ties on Facebook. Wong's face was later blurred out in a reality TV show aired by State-run broadcaster China Central Television.

Later that month, a Facebook sticker fight flared up between Net users from the mainland and Taiwan over the former's boycott of reportedly pro-Taiwan-independence singer Chou Tzu-yu.

Both Wong and Chou later apologized for their actions.

In February, L'Oreal said that China had outstripped the brand's home base, France, to become its second-largest market in 2015, up from third in 2010.

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