Wednesday, June 18, 2014

'Racist' ad showing Pinay maid draws outrage in HK

An insurance commercial showing a Chinese actor as a Filipina maid has drawn outrage on social media in Hong Kong, labeling it as "racist."

The 30-second advertisement for Malaysia's Hong Leong Bank shows the Chinese actor wearing dark orange make-up and a curly wig as he plays clumsy maid "Maria."

Groups representing the city's legions of domestic helpers call for an apology for showing such advert. Hong Kong has 300,000 maids, which hails mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia.

Eni Lestari, spokeswoman for the Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body, told Agence France-Presse that they should make a public apology and described the ad as "very racist."

"You are making comedy out of someone, out of a community," she said. "For (Hong Kong residents) it's funny, but what they don't realize is what's funny is actually racist."

She questioned why the bank did not hire someone from Indonesia or the Philippines to play the maid.

Others took to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to blast the advert.

"You guys should really take down that ad and apologize for it... It's really not appropriate for a professional representation of your financial services," Kahlil Stultz wrote on the bank's Facebook page.

"Why do you have to solidify the omnipresent racial and cultural stereotypes that are hurting so many people?" added Marcin Rutecki.

[with report from Agence France-Presse]

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