Update: Chinese beauty influencer Li Jiaqi apologizes for ‘inappropriate’ remarks triggering controversy
Published: Sep 11, 2023 12:50 PM
Li Jiaqi Photo: VCG

Li Jiaqi Photo: VCG

Chinese makeup and beauty influencer Li Jiaqi, known as the "King of Lipstick," sobbed while apologizing again on Monday evening, after his "inappropriate remarks" made against a netizen a day before triggered a very heated discussion online. The netizen had complained that a home-made eyebrow pencil was "too expensive."

"Today I'd like to seriously say 'sorry' to you guys," Li stood in front of the camera and made the apology at the beginning of his livestreaming.

Since Sunday evening, Li's remarks against the netizen has been trending on Sina Weibo and there were 13 trending topics about Li on the social media platform. During his livestreaming on Monday evening, Li responded to many controversies against him.

"I once said that Li Jiaqi's feathers were given by all the girls one by one, and it is the support and trust of all the girls that let me go thus far to today step by step. No matter at what time, I should not forget where I came from, let alone lose myself," Li said.

"My very inappropriate remarks let you down. I should not and I am not qualified to casually comment on any netizen from the personnel perspective," Li said, noting that he had recognized that this inappropriate expression was disrespectful to others, and that anyone has the right to express opinions and ideas about the products during the livestreaming.

Li said that he had been reflecting on the incident and had reviewed netizens' online comments, sincerely accepting all criticism and suggestions from the public.

On Monday morning, Li also made an apology in a Weibo post and said he had been reflecting after the incident happened.

"When I was on the livestreaming responding to a product review, I made some inappropriate and uncomfortable remarks. I've been self-reflecting during my work today …how disappointed I would be if I were the girl giving the comment," Li wrote on Weibo on Monday.

"I am a makeup counter salesman, and I know that everyone's job is hard and not easy. I'm sorry for what I said didn't live up to your expectations," Li wrote.

When Li was promoting a domestic-brand eyebrow pencil priced at 79 yuan ($10.79) during a live-streaming event, one netizen left a message saying that the product's price was becoming increasingly expensive. Li said during the live-streaming that the product price had stayed the same for a number of years, and commented on the difficult market situation for domestic makeup companies. Li questioned the netizen whether they had worked hard enough.

The comment immediately triggered a heated discussion on social media, with the topic related to Li's apology gaining more than 540 million views as of noon Monday.

"Whether domestic products are worth the price or respect for consumers are two different things. If you want to refute whether the domestic goods value is worth this price, you can explain and analyze from the materials used in domestic goods and cost performance, rather than commenting on the working ability of consumers. It is not respectful for consumers," one user complained.

Others said that Li has nothing wrong to back the domestic brand as a makeup influencer, he knew much more about how domestic makeup companies have tried to gain a piece of the market. However, it's not proper for Li to comment on netizens whether they have been working hard enough to earn more money.

Li himself said via his Weibo account that he should always bring the netizens positive-energy and learn to "control own emotions".

Some netizens expressed their understanding for Li. "Li was just refuting those who feel that domestic goods are not worth the price," one said.

"Li has realized his mistake. Not everyone is a sage," another netizen said.

There are more than 110,000 comments on Li's apology as of Monday noon, with some still giving him harsh criticism. "You have made so much money that you've forgotten your roots."

As of Monday evening, more than 848,000 fans had stopped following Li on Weibo, as his total number of fans dropped from 30.43 million to 29.58 million.

A customer service representative from domestic beauty brand Huaxizi, the brand involved in the dispute, said that the entire process had been recorded and there will be further investigation, according to media reports.

For the potential repercussions of this incident, a brand founder told Jiemian News that it hinges on the event's influence. If it escalates into a broader social issue, the brand will contemplate its future collaboration with Li.

"If it can be resolved swiftly," the founder said, "then we will maintain our partnership, contingent upon the market's reaction to such occurrences and the sales data."

Livestreaming e-commerce has blossomed in the country, bringing benefits to both merchants and consumers. And, the regulators have stepped up efforts to rectify wrongdoing through livestreaming.

Global Times