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  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 10:43am
LifestyleFashion & Watches

Zadig & Voltaire fashion boss apologises over China gaffe

Company founder Thierry Gillier said remarks had been taken out of context

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 October, 2012, 2:50pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 October, 2012, 5:55pm

The boss of French clothing firm Zadig & Voltaire has apologised for saying that Chinese tourists would not be welcome at an exclusive new hotel planned by the company in Paris.

Company founder Thierry Gillier told fashion industry journal Women’s Wear Daily late last month: “We are going to select guests. It won’t be open to Chinese tourists, for example.”

The article has since been amended to remove the reference to Chinese tourists and instead refers to “busloads of tourists”.

But that did not stop outraged Internet users posting angry messages on social media and websites in China.

“This is obviously racial discrimination. Not every Chinese is uncultivated, there are many more who are cultured,” said one user on popular portal Sina.com.

“I think this pretentious brand will lose an important market if it really turns down Chinese.”

In a statement released on Thursday, Gillier said the remarks had been taken out of context and apologised for any offence caused.

“These reported words do not reflect either my line of thought or my ethics,” he said.

“My remarks were doubtless clumsy and, taken out of their context, I understand they might have hurt my friends from China, France or elsewhere, and I am deeply sorry for that.”

The hotel would be an “intimate address”, the statement said, adding that Gillier “admits he expressed himself in an inappropriate way to explain that his hotel was not suited to mass tourism”.


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This article is now closed to comments

Gillier did the right thing, whether the mainlanders like it or not. Look what they do in hotel lobbies in Hong Kong. Their kids running around, shouting loudly. Adults squatting & spitting & rubbishing everywhere. If only Hong Kong hoteliers & retailers have the gut to stand up to them. They don't get business from Hong Kongers because they treat us like trash, not because we can't afford to shop in their shops. We now shop overseas where it is more expensive. Mainlanders are degrading our city!!
Though not politically sensitive in his choice of words, I can totally sympathise with him. I wouldn't want a bunch of mainlanders squatting and talking loudly in my hotel lobby either. He sure **** off a lot of rich barbarians this time. But then again, its better then those mainland butt kissers like LV or Gucci.
You know what the funny thing is? I am pretty sure he is not going to split, Hongkies, Singaporeans, Taiwanese, overseas Chinese, or mainland Chinese. To them he means us all.
Typical western poodle, incapable of comprehending but butt licking the west.

I think this is a welcome comment on my Chinese compatriots (esp those who think highly of themselves...) as a wake-up call to reflect on who they really are and how they have been conducting themselves (and why they have no friends...)...why did the French not seek out other peoples...easy to blame "racial discrimination" indeed (why should other peoples hang out with you to begin with??)!
This article reminds me of the "Ugly American" sobriquet given to Americans while traveling to Europe in a previous generation. Europeans sneering at uncouth Middle Americans while they take in the sites of "The Old World" while riding high on the great Post War economic expansion. I guess Chinese and North Americans have more in common then they realize since both seem to fall short in the eyes of some of our fashionable friends in Europe.


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