2019-03-11 10:23:26

A leading Chinese hospitality group has apologized for one of its subsidiaries’ advertorials following accusations of sexism.

Huazhu Group said it is “aware of the seriousness” of a post in which Crystal Orange Hotel used sensational wording to attract more clicks for its International Women’s Day advertorial, according to a statement published Sunday. The advertorial, it said, had “hurt the feelings of the public.”

The boutique hotel chain had published a promotional post on social app WeChat on Thursday — the eve of International Women’s Day — with the title “Women Are Too Slutty These Days.” The now-deleted post was accompanied by a photo of a young woman holding a champagne glass in a bathtub, her legs outstretched in the air. The text underneath read: “Modern women are really careless.”

Following an online backlash, Crystal Orange Hotel apologized for the “inappropriate title” in a statement Friday on microblogging platform Weibo. The hotel said that it supports women’s empowerment and that the advertorial was aimed at “praising women’s independence and encouraging them to boldly pursue their dreams.”

However, many netizens continued to slam the hotel for the post. “I reported this post immediately after I saw it, as it showed no respect for women at all,” one user commented under the hotel’s statement on Weibo. “The [advertorial] editor’s education level and morality are questionable. How did this kind of post even pass review?”

In recent years, International Women’s Day has turned into a more commercialized event, with tone-deaf ads offering everything from “shared boyfriends” to limited-edition credit cards. The true meaning of Women’s Day, experts say, is gradually being lost in China amid its commodification.

Huazhu Group operates over 5,500 hotels in 1,148 Chinese cities and has 100 million people currently registered in its membership program, according to its website. Crystal Orange Hotel is promoted as a boutique chain rivaling some of the country’s five-star facilities.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: A woman walks through the lobby of a Crystal Orange Hotel in Beijing, March 25, 2015. IC)