An ill-advised advertising campaign promoting a new branch of The Ivy Asia in London has been removed after the chain was heavily criticized over its depiction of Chinese and Japanese culture.
In a now-deleted Instagram ad, ‘Geisha Girl and Fu Manchu’, the company portrayed two Japanese geisha girls arriving at a restaurant on a rickshaw pulled by a Fu Manchu character, to the amusement of white diners.
Condemnation of the ad was swift, prompting The Ivy to hastily remove the video, with a note advising only that ‘it was posted without due consideration’.
Much of the damage had already been done though, with British actor and filmmaker Daniel York Loh leading the pushback, declaring: “This video is garish, dehumanizing and orientalizing.
“It’s a horrible mish-mash of cultural archetypes mixed together. It has comedy geisha and the Fu Manchu-type guy pulling the rickshaw.”
A restaurant spokesperson later told The Telegraph: “We would like to sincerely apologize for the offense caused by our marketing video. It was wrong. It was done naively and it was totally inappropriate and culturally insensitive. We had a complete ignorance of understanding.
“We are conducting an immediate internal review into our marketing processes and publication guidelines to make 100% sure this doesn’t happen again.”
The Ivy Asia opened its doors on June 30 at a high-profile launch party attended by the likes of Lily Allen and Naomie Harris, who were entertained by paper dragons and performers dressed as sumo wrestlers.