Shawn Yue Apologises After Chinese Netizens Accuse His Label Of Using A Pro-Hongkong Independence Design
Shawn Yue has angered Chinese netizens again after his clothing brand, MADNESS, was accused of supporting the Hongkong pro-independence movement.
It all started when his label released previews of its upcoming collection, which included a sweater with a design that showed two hands, one holding up five fingers and the other, one. The design was assumed to be the same gestures that Hongkong pro-independence protesters have used to signify that they want all five of their demands, and not one less, to be fulfilled by the Chinese government.
The issue became such a big deal that Shawn became a trending topic on Weibo. MADNESS quickly issued a clarification where they shared that the design corresponded with Shawn’s nickname, ‘liu shu’, or sixth uncle. MADNESS added that there was no hidden meaning, and that they felt that they were “misunderstood in the name of creativity”.
Shawn, on the other hand, took a different stance when he took to his personal Weibo account a few hours later to apologise.
“I know that something happened today that made people believe that I am a pro-Hongkong independence supporter,” he started. “It’s a fact that Hongkong will be returned to China, and this is not the time that someone has tried to frame me.”
The actor continued, “The design was completed in March 2019, and as the label’s owner, I want to apologise on behalf of myself and my team. I didn’t handle the entire process carefully and I apologise for causing a misunderstanding. In addition, I will be removing all items with this design. I will also strive to avoid such situations in future. Finally, I hope that everyone will protect their families in this difficult time, and I hope all of us can return to our normal lives as soon as possible.”
While his statement has appeased most Chinese netizens, some Hongkongers have started calling him a traitor, sharing that they will boycott his future activities since he has "shown his true colours".
This is not the first time that MADNESS has landed itself in hot soup. In 2018, it came under fire after its website stated that it ships to most countries, with the list including Hongkong, Macau and Taiwan. After they were called out, the word 'countries' was then changed to ‘areas’. Hongkong and Macau were also substituted with ‘Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’ and ‘Macau Special Administrative Region’ respectively.
At the time, Shawn also apologised for what he called a “big error”, and he promised a comprehensive review of company policies to ensure that they will not repeat the mistake.
With the current scandal, Chinese netizens have brought up this incident again, asking Shawn to be more responsible for his brand or to shut it down completely.