Intel says it values diversity after removing ad using 'sexist' female stand-up comedian amid controversy
Published: Mar 21, 2021 10:41 PM
Yang Li. Photo: screenshot from Sina Weibo

Yang Li. Photo: screenshot from Sina Weibo

Intel has noted the active discussion regarding Yang Li, and expressed regret over the situation, the company said in an exclusive reply to the Global Times on Monday, amid controversy over "sexism" triggered by its latest laptop advertisement, which used "sexist" stand-up comedian Yang Li, who caught her big break last year for her sarcastic attacks on men during online gigs. 

"Diversity and inclusion is a core pillar of Intel's culture. We fully recognize and value the diverse world we live in, and we are committed to creating an inclusive workplace and social environment with our stakeholders," Intel said.

The ad, which was posted on Intel China's Sina Weibo account on Thursday, had been removed as of Sunday. 

According to media reports, in the ad, Yang said that "Intel has a taste for laptops that is higher than my taste for men." 

Soon after its release, the ad drew complaints from some male netziens, who commented under the post that Yang was not qualified to promote Intel laptops, most of whose buyers are men, after she became famous for "insulting men." Some even vowed to boycott Intel products.  

Yang, a former scriptwriter from Shanghai, joined the funny business in 2018 and established quite a character in Tencent's popular internet stand-up comedy show Rock and Roast, with the image of an outspoken young neighborhood girl confused over friendship and relationships, with men in particular. 

She was besieged by online trolls and even anonymously reported to the state cultural publication regulator for allegedly being "sexist" after she mocked men as "they look so mediocre, yet they manage to be so confident" during a show in December 2020. 

Some supported Yang, noting that Intel is also using a male stand-up comedian as a spokesperson in order to attract both male and female users. 

"It is not Yang who is conducting gender discrimination, it's those who think that only males use Intel," some Weibo users commented. 

The "sexist" controversy raged higher after Intel removed the ad as some netizens deemed that the removal to some extent verified the so-called accusation of "sexism."

"The withdrawal of Yang Li's position as a spokesperson is deepening gender antagonism, and the customer service in Intel China BLOCKED everyone that brought up this issue. I am anticipating a professional statement about this incident, and I will not support a company that stands by sexism," a Weibo user said. The user has sent a complaint letter to IntelCode of Conduct, according to a post of the user on Sunday.  

Less than one month ago, Li Dan, who is considered a leader of China's stand-up comedy scene and the founder of company Fun Factory, where Yang works, became embroiled in a sexism controversy after he released promotional slogans for underwear that many netizens found insulting and disrespectful to women.  

Global Times 

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