8 October 2012
The founder of the luxury French fashion label Zadig et Voltaire has apologised for saying in an interview that Chinese tourists would not be welcome at a new Paris hotel. The comments have sparked an angry reaction on social networking sites.
Click to hear the report
The Zadig, due to open in 2014, will be a cosy, 40-room hotel on Paris's chic Left Bank. But it won't be open to just anyone: its owner Thierry Gillier told the fashion journal, Women's Wear, that certain kinds of guests would not be allowed, like Chinese tourists, for example. "There is a lot of demand in Paris," said Mr Gillier. "Many people are looking for quiet hotels, with a certain privacy."
A spokesman for the fashion label said he had NOT been misquoted, but misinterpreted. He later urged the journal to change "Chinese tourists" to "busloads of tourists" But that has not stopped the backlash on Chinese websites.
Zadig et Voltaire's success has been phenomenal. The company is constantly expanding around the globe. And in a statement designed to limit the damage, Mr Gillier apologised again for any offence caused. "The words do not reflect either my line of thought or my ethics," he said. "The remarks were doubtless clumsy," he added, "and I am deeply sorry they might have hurt my friends from China."
Click to hear the vocabulary
comfortable and warm
not being disturbed
understood to mean something different
awkward, poorly thought out