The lingerie brand’s star model Gigi Hadid got into trouble over a gaffe that a more seasoned business traveller to China might have anticipated. So what hope for future forays into this repressive state?
As a movie plot, it would work better for Johnny English than James Bond: the lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret saw its launch in China mired in controversy when the People’s Republic refused to issue visas to invited celebrities and journalists. Katy Perry was barred for seemingly supporting the independence of Taiwan, while model Gigi Hadid transgressed by squinting in a way some Chinese people thought was racist, while posing with a fortune cookie that looked like Buddha. Add in China’s standard unpredictability when it comes to issuing press visas and you have loss of face all around.
A brief history