HONG KONG – Cosmetics maker Lancome shut all its Hong Kong shops on Wednesday as protesters accused the cosmetics brand of kowtowing to Beijing when it scrapped a promotional event featuring an activist singer.
The company sparked a furious backlash this week in Hong Kong with its cancellation of the mini-concert by Denise Ho, who’s known for her support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and Tibet, both causes that irritate China’s communist leaders.
Lancome’s move apparently was in response to criticism by the Chinese nationalist newspaper Global Times, which triggered internet calls to boycott the brand in mainland China.
Several dozen protesters marched to an unstaffed Lancome counter in a downtown Hong Kong department store Tuesday. They taped up signs accusing the company of self-censorship and of kowtowing to Beijing and called for a boycott.
Hong Kong’s 23 Lancome boutiques were closed for the day and it was uncertain whether they would reopen today, which is a public holiday, a customer service representative said by phone.
Lancome and its parent company, French cosmetics giant L’Oreal, did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
Shops under at least four other L’Oreal brands, including Kiehl’s and The Body Shop, were also shut.