Mainland Chinese clients assumed that the pose alluded to the eye injury sustained by a Hong Kong woman during the rallies, prompting protesters to cover one eye in solidarity, Hong Kong's RTHK broadcaster said.
.@TiffanyAndCo just deleted a tweet showing a model with her hand over her right eye because Chinese bots were accusing the company of supporting the “rioters” in Hong Kong.— Ryan Ho Kilpatrick 何松濤 (@rhokilpatrick) October 7, 2019
Incredible how quickly global companies will self-censor now and sell out people fighting for democracy. pic.twitter.com/pGGH4gRJKU
A spokesman for Tiffany denied that the ad campaign’s photo was meant as a political statement, saying it was made in May, but promised that it would be removed from the retailer’s social media accounts.
Since early June, Hong Kong has been facing a wave of rallies against the now-withdrawn extradition bill — the protests have now evolved into violent demonstrations. Police maintain that they use force only in response to violent actions on the part of the protesters. Beijing, meanwhile, views the situation in Hong Kong as a result of foreign interference in China's domestic affairs and fully supports the actions of the local authorities.