Princess Ubolratana of Thailand unleashed a controversy on social networks on Thursday after an Instagram post showed her to be holding a rubber head resembling that of US President Donald Trump, covered in bloody wounds.
The 68-year-old woman had initially been publishing photos of herself in various Halloween outfits.
The image posted by King Maha Vajiralongkorn's older sister on her private account bore the comment "Happy Halloween in Sampeng! ", in reference to a market situated in the Chinatown of Bangkok.
Social media reactions to the controversial post ranged from people lambasting it as “disgusting,” and “deranged”…
Imagine the outrage if it were Trump holding a bloody mask of a member of the Thai Royal Family?— Bangkok Addick (@Bangkokaddick) October 31, 2019
People say it’s her freedom of speech, which it is, but others are entitled to that as well. She may have given up her title, but she’s very much aware of the impact her opinions have on people. Posting something like that& trying to brush it off as a joke is just irresponsible.— PoliticalTeaSpiller (@steamythaitea) November 1, 2019
Sick— beverley jones (@bevsuperkev) October 31, 2019
Disgraceful behaviour.— ToxicTom (@ToxicTom8) October 31, 2019
Others saw it as a hilarious, if pointed, Halloween prank.
I think it’s no hidden agenda, just funny of her— เต้าหู้ยี้ (@wonderfulwithwg) October 31, 2019
That’s nonsense bc it’s Halloween no any issue.. you know bc it’s fancy night dude 🤷🏼♀️— คิมหันต์ (@pnvich) November 1, 2019
Some social media fans referenced an incident involving US comedian Kathy Griffin, who found herself in hot water in 2016 after she held a bloodied, disembodied Trump head aloft for a photo stunt.
Sorry but @kathygriffin did it first. And she slayed at it.— Pablo Hernández D. (@Pablo_88) October 31, 2019
what was she even thinking 🤦🏻♀️— Sas Katt (@sassykatts1) October 31, 2019
did she not learn anything from Kathy Griffin?
Many commenters suspected the controversial post was in response to the recent US suspension of certain Thai trade preferences.
Princess Ubolratana of Thailand has posted a photo on Instagram holding up a plastic bloodied severed head of US president @realDonaldTrump.— Andrew MacGregor Marshall (@zenjournalist) October 31, 2019
This comes amid rising anti-US sentiment in Thailand over the revocation of trade privileges. pic.twitter.com/W1DWs9byJb
Maybe she was playing trick or treat for national debt!— Ranny Singka (@ranny__singka) October 31, 2019
I very much doubt she knows USA has revoked Thailand trade privileges— Pelomski (@pelomski) October 31, 2019
Earlier, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced 25 October it was suspending $1.3 billion in trade preferences for Thailand under the Generalised System of Preferences, or GSP, because of its failure to adequately protect worker rights.
Thailand has faced complaints for years over labour issues, particularly in its fisheries industry.
Keerati Rushchano, acting director-general of the Commerce Ministry’s Foreign Trade Department, said on 28 October that Thailand will try to negotiate the issue before it takes effect in April, as did Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in separate remarks Monday.
The US Trade Representative’s announcement said the GSP eligibility was open to periodic review.