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French fashion boss 'sorry' over 'no Chinese' gaffe

Latest update : 2012-10-05

The boss of French clothing firm Zadig & Voltaire has apologised for saying that Chinese tourists would not be welcome at an exclusive new Paris hotel planned by the company.

A French fashion boss who said his exclusive new Paris hotel “won’t be open to Chinese tourists” has apologised for his gaffe after a storm of Internet criticism.

Thierry Gillier, the founder of fashion giant Zadig & Voltaire, told industry journal Women's Wear Daily late last month: "We are going to select guests. It won't be open to Chinese tourists, for example."

And after an avalanche of outraged comments on social media networks, particularly in China, the article has since been ammended, referring instead to "busloads of tourists".

But the damage may already have been done.

"This is obviously racial discrimination. Not every Chinese is uncultivated, there are many more who are cultured," said one user on popular Chinese social network Sina.com.

"I think this pretentious brand will lose an important market if it really turns down Chinese."

Gillier said Thursday that his had been taken “out of context” and he apologised for any offence caused.

Gillier said in a statement that he admitted expressing himself in an “inappropriate way to explain that his hotel was not suited to mass tourism".

"These reported words do not reflect either my line of thought or my ethics," he said. “My remarks were doubtless clumsy and, taken out of their context, I understand they might have hurt my friends from China, France or elsewhere, and I am deeply sorry for that."

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-10-05

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