The cosmetics company Lancome had hired Denise Ho, a Canto-pop star, to perform at a free concert. A democracy activist, Ho was criticized by a Bejing paper, and Lancome cancelled the show. The company now faces criticism, which the South China Morning Post says is its own fault:
"What's a definite no-no is to hire someone like Ho and then promptly ditch her after an official mainland newspaper complains. That not only makes you look spineless and unprincipled, it shows you are incompetent, which is more unforgivable in the corporate world."
Ho had questioned the decision in a statement posted in Chinese on Facebook:
I understand that this was a decision made by Lancôme's head office. Here I demand Lancôme's head office spell out the reasons behind the decision. The company owes me and the public a proper explanation.
Freedom, justice and equality are the values cherished by the people of Hong Kong. If we are penalised for defending our rights and upholding our beliefs, this is not just about me any more. Our value system has been completely distorted.
The company made one short statement: "Hong Kong Actress Denise Ho is not a spokesperson of LANCOME. We are sorry for the confusion caused. Thank you for your continuous support to LANCOME."
Of course, that wasn't enough, and a longer statement, shown here, came later.
- Ho was arrested in the 2014 Umbrella Movement. Should Lancome have known better? Or stuck with its initial decision?
- Assess Lancome's statements. What else, if anything, should the company say?