Coach, Versace and Givenchy Issue Apology to China Over T-Shirt Outcry

Hashtags related to the controversy have been read over a billion times on Weibo.

Fashion
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Versace recently caught social media backlash after one of its T-shirts appeared online. Chinese users on the Weibo social media network were quick to call out the graphic on the tee, citing implications that Hong Kong and Macau are independent countries and not “Special Administrative Regions,” under the “One-China” policy. Under said policy both are territories of China but maintain separate governing and economic systems.

Following the outcry, newly-signed Chinese brand ambassador Yang Mi informed the house that she would end her contract, causing Donatella Versace to issue a formal apology to China and its citizens:

“I am deeply sorry for the unfortunate recent error that was made by our company and that is being currently discussed on various social media channels. Never have I wanted to disrespect China’s National Sovereignty and this is why I wanted to personally apologize for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused.”

Following the apology, images of Coach and Givenchy T-shirts with similar designs began circulating Weibo. Each brand’s T-shirt listed Hong Kong as an independent country, while Coach’s tee referenced this same note for Taiwan. All three companies were met with equal consternation from Chinese social media users who cited misattributed territorial ownership.

According to CNN, the hashtag related to the Coach T-shirt had been read over a billion times on Weibo. Users indefinitely called for the boycott of both brands. Givenchy ambassador Jackson Yee, and member of Chinese boy band TFBoys and Coach ambassador, Liu Wen both cut ties with the fashion houses in response.

Wen wrote on her Weibo page:

“At any time, China’s sovereignty and territory integrity are inviolable! My carelessness in choosing which brand to work with has brought harm to everyone; I apologize to everyone here! I love my motherland and resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty.”

Take a look at the social media apologies from Givenchy and China below. Stay tuned here as more news emerges.

 

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Coach respects and supports China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In May 2018, we found a serious inaccuracy in the design of a few T-shirts. We immediately pulled those products from all channels globally. We also reviewed our entire assortment to ensure compliance, and have strengthened our internal product development process to avoid the occurrence of a similar issue in the future. We are fully aware of the severity of this error and deeply regret it. We have also taken immediate action to review and correct relevant website content. Coach is dedicated to long-term development in China, and we respect the feelings of the Chinese people. We will continue to strive to provide exceptional products and service to Chinese customers.

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