Three Squirrels said in a post Saturday on its official Weibo account that it did not intend to portray a Chinese person in a bad light. The advertisement was shot in 2019, the company said in a statement. The model is Chinese and the makeup style was designed to suit her natural features, it said.
“In response to the feedback from netizens that the model’s makeup does not conform to publicly-accepted aesthetics standards and caused discomfort, our company apologizes,” the statement read.
“The page has been replaced and arrangements have been made to check other company pages to ensure that this situation will not happen again.”
Online, Chinese internet users have criticized the selection of models and makeup styles to deliberately portray the “slanted eyes” image.
One user with the handle MaoBuErXiong said that such slanted eyes imagery is derogatory and is deeply embedded in the fashion industry, with Asian models and their makeup styles often selected to fit a stereotype.
The model featured in the Three Squirrels advertisements has spoken out against the criticism.
“Just because my eyes are small, I’m not good enough to be a Chinese person? I don’t know what to say to these comments … I’m really helpless,” the model said in a Weibo post under the handle Cai Niangniang.