Dior Confronts Racism Allegations Over Controversial Makeup Ad in China

Luxury fashion powerhouse Dior has found itself embroiled in controversy, as it faces accusations of racism due to a contentious advertisement featuring an Asian model.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Dior Confronts Racism Allegations Over Controversial Makeup Ad in China

Luxury fashion powerhouse Dior has found itself embroiled in controversy, as it faces accusations of racism due to a contentious advertisement featuring an Asian model. The advertisement, which showcased Dior's latest makeup collection, portrayed the model raising the corner of her eye, accompanied by the caption "Channel your feline fierceness." Although the image was promptly removed from Dior's official channels, it was quickly disseminated on Chinese social media platforms, where it faced a torrent of criticism.

Public Outcry and Accusations of Racial Discrimination

This contentious ad ignited a firestorm of anger on social media, inundating Dior's Instagram account with comments and propelling the hashtag "Dior makeup advertisement accused of discriminating against Asians" to viral status on Weibo.

A particularly popular comment on Instagram declared, "It's racial discrimination," while a Chinese user questioned, "Are you trying to make money and play racism at the same time?" State-owned newspaper Global Times entered the fray, publishing an editorial demanding an apology from the brand.

The editorial asserted, "'Pulling your eyes back'.. makes fun of the appearance of Asians, especially East Asians. We hope that Dior can face up to its mistakes, make a sincere apology and response to Asian society, and make clear statements on how to prevent similar problems from happening in the future." In light of these events, numerous netizens have urged Chinese celebrities associated with Dior to sever their ties with the brand.

Overblown Debate or Genuine Concern?

Despite the heated discussions provoked by this controversy, there are those who argue that the debate is being blown out of proportion. One Weibo user opined, "An extremely unconfident person won't be able to take any level of humor," while another contended, "Those who buy Dior never think it insults China, it's always those who don't buy that are concerned by it." This incident is not Dior's first brush with controversy in China, one of its most significant markets.

In 2021, an image produced by a Chinese fashion photographer for the brand incited outrage after some netizens argued that it perpetuated Western stereotypes of Asian faces. The photographer later issued an apology, with Dior asserting that it "respects the sentiments of the Chinese people." The following year, the brand faced accusations of "cultural appropriation" due to the incorporation of a traditional Chinese design in one of its skirts.

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