Amazon Sparks Outrage Over ‘Yellowface’ Chinese Costumes

Amazon has come under fire for selling Chinese costumes that are advertised with models in yellowface.

At least one of the costumes is sold by a brand called Widmann, which calls the product an “Oriental Chinese Fancy Dress.”

Image via Amazon / @SarahOwen_

Sarah Owen, a Member of the British Parliament, shed light on the matter after what she called a “frustrating” meeting with Amazon U.K.

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“Had a frustrating meeting with @AmazonUK who can’t understand why these images of #yellowface are offensive and need removing. Slanted eye makeup, descriptions like oriental, Chinaman, Far East + mixing up Japanese/Chinese culture is not ok,” Owen wrote on Twitter. Share and tell Amazon they are wrong.”

Images via Amazon / @SarahOwen_

One of the images Owen shared shows a Caucasian woman being referred to as “China Girl.” She wore a pink qi pao that sold for 21.89 GBP ($29.25).

The other image shows two Caucasian models, a male and a female, who wore ensembles with confusing designs. They appear to be a mix of at least two types of dresses.

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Owen, who is British Chinese, has spoken against the racism faced by Asians amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, she told the Parliament about hearing two Members who allegedly called Chinese people “evil bastards.”

Amazon has not responded to Owen’s tweet. As of this writing, a quick search for the terms “Chinese dress” and “Widmann Chinese” on its U.K. site still returns several models in yellowface.

Twitter users slammed the costumes as offensive and discriminatory.

“Like something from a 1970s sketch show. Grim beyond belief,” one wrote.

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Another commented, “[I] think it’ll take a long time for many businesses and some people to recognize the pain and discrimination felt that this is only part of. It’s a shame Amazon can’t show some leadership on this.”

“How can Amazon U.K. even sell that. People are so insensitive. It’s very offensive,” another echoed.

Feature Images via Amazon / @SarahOwen_

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