Boycott calls were heard across the Thai internet over a shopping platform campaign seen as mocking the disabled and a member of the monarchy.
Twitter hashtag #BanLazada trended last night after a promotional TikTok was posted by influencer Aniwat “Nara” Prathumthin showing her and Thidaporn “Nurat” Chaokuwiang wearing traditional Thai outfits.
While that would have been fine, Thidaporn was in a wheelchair while Aniwat played her mother. Aniwat’s character scolds Thidaporn for stealing her clothes.
While some were offended by Thidaporn’s tasteless stereotyping of someone with a disability, royalists were outraged by her character’s resemblance to Princess Chulabhorn, who has the autoimmune disease Lupus and uses a wheelchair.
“It’s tasteless, and instantly recognizable to the Thai general public of who they’re trying to mock,” former Democrat party member Payu Nerngchamnong tweeted. “It is cruel, and unacceptable, regardless of whether or not the targeted person is a member of the Royal Family. There is no place for this kind of behavior.”
The video had garnered widespread criticism in nearly 90,000 tweets as of this morning for making fun of the disabled. A number of people posted clips of themselves deleting the app and vowing not to use it again.
The ad has since been deleted, and Lazada apologized this morning.
“We understand that such content is socially impactful and dehumanizing,” the online sales giant said in a statement. “As soon as we became aware of the clip, we ordered its removal immediately as its message is against Lazada’s working principles and beliefs of being a part of a respectful society.”
The agency behind the ad, Intersect Design Factory, apologized last night.
“As an influencer contact coordinator and promoter of the Lazada 5.5 campaign, we are not affiliated with any of the images that are still circulating online,” the post read. “As for the clips that spread throughout social media, we sincerely apologize for the incident and welcome all feedback for further improvements to our work.”
The ad first gained traction Thursday morning after a viral news page called for the platform to be held accountable.
“Dear Lazada executives, my friends and I have seen the Lazada promotional clip of Khun Nara and Khun Nurat,” the post read. I would like to know if the clip was made by themselves or Lazada because it mocked the [monarchy].”