11 July 2024

The #BanLazada hashtag has been top-trending on Thai Twitter since last night (Thursday), after a controversial influencer video, which was sanctioned by a company representing the popular online shopping application Lazada, caused outrage for allegedly bullying the disabled and being offensive to the monarchy.

The video, which was posted on TikTok to promote a Lazada sales campaign, shows two online influencers, Nara Aniwat and Thidaporn “Nurat” Chaokuwiang, promoting the Lazada platform for clothes shopping. Thidaporn is seen dressed in a traditional Thai costume and sitting in a wheelchair. Nara is seen accusing Thidaporn, who plays the role of her mother of noble background, of stealing her clothes.

Many netizens criticised the video’s mockery of the disabled, which is offensive to many. Some royalist users even felt that it also mocks a royal family member who is in a wheelchair.

The Thai-language #BanLazada hashtag has attracted up to 102,000 tweets as of Friday afternoon. Some users even posted information on how to deactivate their Lazada accounts and remove the app from their phones.

Lazada issued an apology Friday morning, saying what happened was an “unacceptable mistake” and “a result of our oversight.”

“We fully recognize that the content was hurtful and demeaning to human dignity.  As soon as we became aware of the incident, we immediately demanded the post to be taken down,” said the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia owned by China-based Alibaba Group in an English-language statement distributed to media.

“Our brand does not condone the mockery of others including those with disabilities. It is absolutely unacceptable and a breach of Lazada’s value of being respectful and inclusive,” the group added.

Meanwhile, Intersect Design Factory, the company which hired the two influencers to promote Lazada’s campaign, posted a public apology on its Facebook page last night.

The apology also stated that Lazada believes in equality and does not encourage any mockery of people with disabilities, adding that such actions are against the company’s values.

The offending TikTok ad has been removed.