Gregory Charles Rivers, an Australian Cantonese-speaking actor and performer, said on Tuesday that he had been duped into advertising a cookies company.

In a Facebook post, Rivers said that he was contacted on Whatsapp by someone who said that Apple Daily wanted to interview him about cookies. However, when he got to the cookie store, he was asked to pose for photographs with products.

The store, Jini Bakery, later purchased an advertisement in a newspaper using Rivers’ photograph on March 20.

Gregory Charles Rivers ad
Gregory Charles Rivers’ “interview” turned out to be an advertisement. Photo: Gregory Charles Rivers via Facebook.

“I am not any cookie brand’s spokesperson,” he said in his Facebook post. He also added that the staff at the time insisted repeatedly that it was an interview, not an advertisement.

Rivers’ post on Facebook amassed 7000 angry reaction emojis by 5:30pm on Wednesday. Netizens have also flooded the bakery’s Facebook page with angry comments, saying that they were “terrible” and demanding they own up to the alleged ruse. Apple Daily said in a statement that it did not send any editorial staff to participate in the ad’s production and would not mix advertisement production with news writing. It also said it fired a staff member who was involved in the incident immediately.

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Jini Bakery and Jenny Bakery both sell cookies in teddy bear tin cans. The latter is popular with mainland tourists.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.