French DJ Michel Gaubert has apologized for showcasing racist slanty-eye paper masks on social media.
The longtime music collaborator for Chanel, Fendi and Raf Simons first posted a video on Instagram of a private dinner on Thursday night. In the clip, eight dinner guests can be seen holding the masks while yelling “Wuhan girls, wahoo.”
This post soon received backlash from industry influencers including Susanna Lau, Bryan Grey Yambao, Tina Craig, Diet Prada and model Chu Wong.
“Where to begin with this.…The patently racist paper maskers with the slanted eyes cut out, which are basically an Asian version of blackface,” Lau said in a series of Instagram Stories. “The dumb reference to Wuhan girls obviously tickling Marie Beltrami and Michel Gaubert to no end as their LOL around with their f–king horrible masks whilst Asians are getting beaten up because of people conflating the origins of a virus with people’s ethnicity.”
Lau later added that she is “genuinely upset,” because “these are people I mix with (well pre-COVID-19). What lies beneath the smiles and niceties…I don’t know anymore. Are we just all the same? A slant-eyed white-masked non entity with no voice, no significance, no agency…”
Yambao said he was surprised that “no one at that dinner thought that it was NOT nice to do this and it was NOT wise to post it on social media.”
Wong said, “No matter how big the universe is, there are always some people living in their own world, and this proves once again that a person’s cultivation and character have nothing to do with the person’s professionalism. How funny.”
Craig commented on Gaubert’s post that said, “Regardless if it was you or your friend who said ‘Wuhan girl’ (loud and clear), YOU chose to post and promote this video. Careless hate speech tossed around disguised as ‘funny dinner party conversations’ dehumanizing Asians is the direct reason why we are being attacked and murdered.”
On Friday morning, Gaubert issued a statement on Instagram to apologize, and deleted the original post.
“I want to reiterate my apologies to anyone who was hurt about my inconsiderate and stupid post,” he said. “I am extremely sorry for this lack of dignity, especially in the times we are going through now. Asian hate is not acceptable and I condemn it like any other hate. I have always been embracing every culture in whatever I do and I am devastated when I see what is going on in the world today. Yet I failed when I thought I could not.
“We all learn something every day and I realize it is not enough. I am committed to hold myself accountable and become a better person as I am convinced that we should all live in harmony and fight against every form of racism.”