Racism row erupts after scuffle at Paris department store

Updated 2018-04-27 10:40:06

Chinese internet users accuse Paris store of racism, vow to boycott

Paris department store Printemps stood accused of racism on Thursday after a salesclerk allegedly insulted Chinese customers in a dispute over queue-jumping run amok, with security staff handling the situation less than perfectly.

A Balenciaga salesclerk in Printemps insulted Chinese customers in the queue, telling them to get out and never return to buy shoes, WeChat user paizhao zhuli posted on Wednesday.

The bizarre incident erupted when a Chinese woman criticized five foreigners for jumping the line, paizhao zhuli claimed.

One of the jumpers pushed the woman away and threatened to punch her. When her son jumped to her defense, he was beaten to the ground by the group, paizhao zhuli alleged.

A store security guard arrived and dragged the man away as he was being beaten, according to a four-second video circulated on Chinese social media and YouTube.

Printemps issued a statement on its Instagram Thursday morning saying that its staff had taken immediate action to restore calm and the store was now trying to understand more about what happened.

In the statement, Printemps said it was "sorry for the altercation between the two customers which took place in the queue at the launch of a collector's item."

The statement failed to satisfy some Chinese internet users, who crowded onto the Instagram pages of Printemps and Balenciaga alleging racism and demanding the companies make a more sincere apology.

The hashtag "boycotting Balenciaga's discrimination toward Chinese" attracted more than 19.3 million page views on China's official Sina Weibo microblog as of press time.

Reached by the Global Times late Thursday, Balenciaga declined to comment on the incident, saying the customer service department had not received any official statement.

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