Mercedes-Benz Forced To Remove ‘Slanted Eye’ Chinese Model Advert Following Backlash
Mercedes-Benz has been forced to remove an advert in China after it was criticised for perpetuating western stereotypes about Asians.
The advert was published on Chinese social media network Weibo on Christmas Day, and was immediately met with a backlash.
Per The Independent, people criticised the ad because one of the models in it was wearing accentuated eyeliner that made her eyes appear slanted.
The Chinese Communist Party’s newspaper, Global Times, waded into the debate and attacked the Mercedes ad for not being an ‘objective description’ of Chinese people, as the ‘image of slanted eyes and a braid is a western stereotype of the Chinese in the 19th century’.
The New York Post reports that a hashtag that translates as ‘Mercedes-Benz model’s makeup is controversial’ gained more than 170 million hits on Weibo.
Angry social media comments were directed at western stereotypes, with one post saying, ‘No Chinese will think this kind of “beauty” is attractive’, and another attacking Mercedes-Benz as ‘malicious slanderers’ before calling for ‘sufficient vigilance and counter-attack’.
Mercedes is not the first brand to run into controversy on Chinese social media, as Gucci was recently criticised for a handbag ad that allegedly portrays ‘discriminatory’ Chinese features.
In November, Dior photographer Chen Man also apologised for his ‘immaturity and ignorance’ when a handbag advert was accused of ‘perpetuating racial stereotypes’.
There has also been outrage directed at Chinese brands such as snack company Three Squirrels. Its 2019 ad campaign was slated for featuring a model with ‘overly slanted eyes’ and her hair in braids, features that are seen as playing into Western stereotypes of Chinese people.
Cai Niang Niang, the model who appears in the advert, responded to the criticism by asking on social media ‘am I not Chinese?’ before going on to write that ‘creating big problems out of normal matters has become a morbid obsession’.
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