Boycott calls spread from regime backers to celeb targets

Targeted for boycott: Actress Sinjai “Nok” Plengpanich, The Burger King and MC Ornapha “Ma” Krisadee.
Targeted for boycott: Actress Sinjai “Nok” Plengpanich, The Burger King and MC Ornapha “Ma” Krisadee.

A pressure campaign against corporate, media and celebrity government supporters continues to add targets for boycott.

What started as a call to boycott a major advertiser of Nation Multimedia Group over its coverage of recent anti-government protests has expanded to denunciations of high-profile government supporters.

#BanSalimActors was trending today among calls to pull support from Thai celebrities who support the current military dictatorship or its coup back in 2014. Among the targeted celebrities was MC Ornapha “Ma” Krisadee, who said Sunday that students should not protest but “stay home and spread their vaginas,” a reference to masturbation. Her employer, Polyplus Entertainment, announced yesterday that it had fired her as a TV host.

Minor International, the Nation boycott campaign’s original target, said last night it would reconsider advertising with the media group in response to the campaign. 

“Our company respects every customer’s opinion and we immediately will consider sponsoring media more appropriately,” it said in a statement. “We insist that we place importance on customer feedback and we’ll adjust and improve our service. We really hope everyone will continue supporting us.”

Minor International is a multinational conglomerate operating restaurants, hotels and fashion brands in more than two dozen countries. Founder, William Heinecke, an American and naturalized Thai citizen, has been criticized for supporting past military coups d’etat.

The company’s shares were trading down only slightly at THB21.9 early Wednesday afternoon. 

#BanMinor began trending online yesterday on the heels of #BanNation, #BanNationSponsors and #BanNationProducts in reference to the media group that owns Nation TV as well as The Nation, Kom Chad Luek and Krungthep Thurakit newspapers. 

Pro-democracy campaigners have denounced the conglomerate, which was taken over two years ago by an ultraconservative competitor, for its pro-establishment editorial bent. 

That campaign focused on asking people not to patronize Minor Food Group’s restaurants and cafes such as The Pizza Company, Sizzler, BonChon, Burger King, The Coffee Club, Dairy Queen and Swensen’s.

Some protest supporters said they were heartbroken to learn that some of their favorite restaurants supported pro-government media but vowed to find alternatives.

“For pizza, you can order from Gallery Pizza instead. Instead of Burger King, you can check out Beast & Butter in Thonglor. Anyone has any other ideas?” Facebooker Tripop Leelasestaporn wrote.

On Saturday, popular food delivery application FoodPanda said it would withdraw all advertising from Nation TV in response to a similar boycott campaign.

Other celebs that have been called out include Daraneenuch “Top” Photipiti, Sinjai “Nok” Plengpanich and Pawanrat “Meaw” Narksuriya. Protesters have complained that few celebrities have added their voices to the calls for change beyond Miss Universe Thailand Maria Poonlertlarp, actress-TV host Inthira Charoenpura, singer Suthita “Image The Voice” Chanachaisuwan and singer-songwriter Chaiamorn  “Ammy The Bottom Blues” Kaewwiboonpan.

Additional reporting Todd Ruiz


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