Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh's collaboration with Lululemon for the brand's Lunar New Year campaign has sparked backlash, with critics pointing to the company's controversial history.
About the collab: On Jan. 12, Lululemon launched its Lunar New Year capsule collection via a short film titled "Be Spring," starring Yeoh. The film, set against the picturesque mountains of Jingning and Xiandu in China, features Yeoh and other artists performing the choreography of Wing Chun martial arts and dance.
In the clip, Yeoh noted how well-being is about “understanding and listening to your body and spirit to have balance in your life—like mother nature. Well-being is to enjoy and love what you do, to have inner spring all year round.”
Trending on NextShark: Lululemon's Lunar New Year ad with Michelle Yeoh draws backlash
Lululemon's controversies: Lululemon is a Canadian apparel company that has been accused of having racist incidents in the past, including a "Bat Fried Rice" T-shirt released during the COVID-19 pandemic and founder Chip Wilson naming the brand after a racist stereotype, along with other controversial statements he has made.
Most recently, Wilson bashed diversity efforts, suggesting it attracts "unhealthy" customers and that the brand should exclude certain people.
Commenters react: Despite the apparent positive message that Yeoh delivered in the video, the collaboration drew backlash among commenters who highlighted the company's controversies. Some users questioned Yeoh's decision to collaborate with the brand, while others accused Lululemon of attempting to capitalize on a cultural event to repair its image.
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A commenter on Instagram wrote: "Lululemon’s founder who still holds a significant portion of its shares is on record as being vocally and proudly anti-Asian and broadly racist. 'Representation' means many things but flagrant whitewashing of racism to exploit a community’s purchasing power is NOT one of them."
"Looks like Lululemon trying to repair their image with Asians after their racist problematic comments," another chimed in. "Let’s not forget how they treated Asians during COVID-19 also."
"A racist company trying to capitalize on such a deep-rooted cultural event, get a grip babes, next…" commented another.
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