TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Chinese netizens are making a fuss and shaming a Japanese company for their promotion of a Taiwanese celebrity who was previously busted for using marijuana during a 2014 trip to Beijing.
The cosmetics company NARS, a subsidiary of the Shiseido Corporation is coming under fire from Chinese consumers for inviting Taiwanese celeb Kai Ko to its "Speakeasy Orgasm" product launch event held on June 29 at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei to promote NARS’s newest "Orgasm" product line.
Kai Ko, an actor who became famous for a 2011 film “You are the Apple of My Eye,” made headlines in 2014 when he was detained along with Jaycee Chan, son of Jackie Chan, for using marijuana at a party in China’s capital city. He was permanently banned from all TV and commercial events in China.
Kai Ko was one of many guests at the promotional event on June 29, and simply posted a photo to his instagram account thanking NARS for the invitation. After netizens saw the photo, NARS' official Sina Weibo account was immediately flooded with angry messages.
It appears many Chinese netizens are very angry over the incident, and resentful that a celebrity who has smoked marijuana and been previously reprimanded for the crime, would have the audacity to attend a party to which he was invited.
Kai Ko (left) and Jaycee Chan (right) in 2014 (Screen shot from Jaycee Chan's Weibo acct.)
The angry netizens have seized on the opportunity to shame Ko, and the company, while mobilizing consumers for a boycott of NARS products, creating a serious PR problem for the Japanese company, which only entered the Chinese market less than a year ago.
The brand was quick to issue an apology to try and placate the angry mob, pleading with their Chinese customers to continue purchasing NARS cosmetics.
A July 1 statement on their Sina Weibo account expressed “regret over the invitation made by a NARS team from another region to a specific celebrity to a promotion." UDN reports that NARS also asked Kai Ko to remove the offending photographs from his social media profiles.
Unsurprisingly NARS’ apology has not appeased the mob of angry cosmetics users.
Chinese news outlet Jing Daily quoted one Sina Weibo user “Even though I really like Nars’ products, I decided to unfollow it forever because working with someone who has a drug issue has gone too far.”
"I have removed all NARS products from my online shopping list, even if I was a NARS fan. Not anymore," read another user’s post.
"Celebrities who took drugs should be permanently banned," said another netizen.
The Chinese state-backed propaganda blog, Global Times, quoted a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, Zhu Wei, who claimed that giving Kai Ko publicity “will disturb the social order.” He asserts that having someone who has smoked marijuana associated with NARS brand would permanently damage the brand’s image.
In Taiwan, where the event took place, there does not appear to be any online outcry over NARS’ invitation of Kai Ko to their product launch event.