Lancôme’s decision to drop Canto-pop star Denise Ho has sparked a backlash that resulted in the forced closure of its Hong Kong stores.
Protesters who rallied outside of the French face-cream company’s Hong Kong stores on Wednesday have accused the brand of bowing to China’s political pressures in its decision to cancel its promotional concert that was set to feature the pro-democracy singer, Denise Ho.
Protesters who turned up to Hong Kong’s Times Square were seen carrying yellow umbrellas, which is a symbol of Hong Kong’s democracy movement. The Guardian reports that protesters were heard shouting “L’Oreal! No self-censorship.” Many were calling for the boycott of L’Oreal products.
Global Times, an online tabloid published the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper, had criticised Lancôme for working with the pro-democracy singer. Ho had previously expressed support for Hong Kong’s democracy movement and the Dalai Lama, who has been denounced in Beijing as a dangerous separatist.
Meanwhile, SCMP reports that Mainland Chinese internet users were angered by Hong Kong’s music app Moov, who suggested that they would “employ Denise Ho permanently” after hearing the news.
Critics of the company have called for a boycott of a range of companies that are related to Richard Li Tzar-Kai, who runs PCCW, the parent company of Moov. These related companies include Moov, Watsons, Johns and Johnson and Listerine, of which Ho is a spokeswoman.
According to, SCMP a Weibo user who goes by the name of Qiyu Xian’ang239 said, “let’s start by boycotting small stuff … such as not buying Watsons mineral water.” Another user, Tangjia Momo, said, “your permanent recruitment [of Ho] means we will boycott permanently.”
Ho herself has stated that she was shocked at Lancôme’s decision. She told the BBC, “I am quite shocked that a global brand such as Lancôme … would succumb to the pressure from Chinese tabloid news or the Chinese market”.
“We … in Hong Kong … have been going through really rough times … Most of the celebrities, we wouldn’t dare to speak out for ourselves because we know that self-censorship is really serious right now in Hong Kong. But I wouldn’t think that worldwide brands such as Lancôme or L’Oréal … would succumb to this kind of pressure.”
What is your stance on this situation? Was Lancôme right to cancel the pro-democracy singer’s gig? Are protesters right to boycott Lancôme? Are Mainland critics right to boycott companies who support Ho? Let us know what you think below.