Balenciaga has come under fire on Chinese social media after one of its Paris stores allegedly mistreated two Chinese customers in favor of French-Albanians.
The incident, which took place inside a high-end shopping mall on April 25, was caught in a video posted by user Paituzhuli on WeChat. The store was holding a sales event.
It all started when an old Chinese lady called out five Albanians for cutting a queue, according to Paituzhuli. One of them then pushed and threatened to beat her.
When her son intervened, the Albanians ganged up and beat him. A French security guard broke the fight, but what happened next was just shocking.
“I am trembling with anger. Chinese people living abroad are always in the minority. I line up to buy Balenciaga’s Triple S sneakers every day and French-Albanians cut in front of me every day, but I can do nothing.
“Today, an old Chinese lady called out five Albanians who attempted to cut the queue. One of them pushed her away and threatened to beat her. Then, the lady’s son came to protect his mom and was beaten by them. A French security guard also came to stop the fighting, but only handled that Chinese guy. The chaos led to the cancellation of the sales event.”
Unfortunately, those who cut the queue got what they wanted.
“It was really upsetting to see that those Albanians got the shoes, while Balenciaga humiliated Chinese customers who lined up in the store. They asked us to leave and never come back to buy their shoes.”
The video immediately caused furor in Chinese social media, with many pushing to boycott the Spanish luxury label for racial discrimination.
Netizens commented on Weibo:
“Can we get Balenciaga out of the Chinese market?”
“I recommend that they sue Balenciaga and the mall’s store employees.”
“People in foreign countries always believe that Chinese people are poorly-educated and ill-informed.”
“Can our Chinese compatriots unite and give ourselves a long face and not buy their goods, so that these brands do not have a bit of market in China and let them ask us in reverse. We don’t want them.”
Following the uproar, Balenciaga apologized in a WeChat statement released on April 26:
“The house of Balenciaga regrets the incident that took place yesterday morning at a department store in Paris while customers were waiting to enter its corner shop. The security staff acted immediately to restore the calm. Balenciaga sincerely apologizes to the customers who were present and reaffirms its strong commitment to respect equally all its customers.”
The mall, Printemps, also apologized on Instagram:
“We are sorry for the altercation between two customers which took place this morning in the queue at the launch of a collector’s item. We immediately took action to restore calm and we are currently trying to understand more about what happened.”
Check out clips of the incident below: