Pro-democracy singer Denise Ho Wan-see said the international cosmetic giant Lancôme “seriously misled the public and affected my reputation” in a statement published in Chinese on Monday afternoon.

The statement came after Lancôme cancelled a mini-concert, which was supposed to be performed by the singer, due to “possible safety reasons”. Before the cancellation, Chinese netizens called for a boycott of the cosmetic brand for allowing Ho to represent their products.

On Sunday, Lancôme issued a statement saying that Ho was not a spokesperson of the company.

Denise Ho. File Photo: Cloud/Stand News.

“Lancôme is an international brand, and when an international brand has to kneel before this type of suppression, we cannot but face the problem seriously,” Ho said. “In addition to the pursuit of profits, corporations also have moral responsibilities.”

Ho said since the decision to terminate the collaboration was made by the company’s head office according to her understanding, she demanded an explanation from the head office in France.

“Freedom, justice and equality have always been values pursued by Hongkongers. If we are punished without any reasons for upholding our values, this is no longer just about me. It is a serious distortion of our world values,” she said.

Counter for Lancôme in New Zealand. File photo: Wikicommons.

The boycott started when the state-backed Chinese media outlet Global Times posted on Weibo asking its followers about their views on the mouthwash brand Listerine and Lancôme for hiring Denise Ho, who was “pro-Hong Kong independence” and “pro-Tibetan independence”, for promotional events.

Ho has been an outspoken supporter of the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy movement, and was arrested during the movement.

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.