Sharon Stone rattles her Dior endorsement

    Updated June 1, 2008

    May 30, 2008—The perils in associating a consumer brand with mercurial Hollywood talent is evident in the aftermath of Sharon Stone’s insensitive commentary on the crippling China earthquake, which prompted fashion label Christian Dior to drop the actress as its presenter in some of its advertising.
    At the Cannes Film Festival, Stone criticized China’s human rights record speaking to journalists and then bizarrely added, “Then the earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you’re not nice that the bad things happen to you?”
    A Wall Street Journal article said: “Earlier this month, Chinese consumers organized an Internet campaign that called for a boycott of products made by Louis Vuitton -- which, like Dior, belongs to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA Chairman Bernard Arnault -- after protests by pro-Tibetan activists when the Olympic torch passed through Paris. Dior is running ads with Ms. Stone in countries outside China; nonetheless, the fashion house will evaluate whether it wants to continue its contract with the actress, according to a person close to the company.”
     Noted a New York Times article: “The timing for Dior was awkward. With the Beijing Olympic Games a few months away and growth slowing in developed countries, luxury companies have been pouring resources into China.”
    The New York Times weighed in with a post script June 1 that is headlined “Stone and Dior Differ Over Apology.” Dior’s Shanghai office issued a statement that quotes Stone saying: “I am deeply sorry and sad about hurting Chinese people.” She told the New York Times writer Cathy Horyn her original comments were taken out of context, the Dior appology issued in China is not what she said or means, she wasn’t apologizing for being critical of China’s human rights record and Dior has not discussed removing her as its presenter.
    When the controversy first erupted, Cindi Berger, a publicist for Stone, emailed the New York Times a quote from Stone that said in part: “I am deeply saddened that a 10-second poorly edited film clip has besmirched my reputation of over 20 years of charitable services on behalf of international charities. My intention is to be of service to the Chinese people.” The email also expressed sympathy for the earthquake victims and said she regretted if her comments in Cannes were misunderstood. Stone’s next stop after the Cannes fest was a global health forum in Stockholm attended by scientists and public health experts, who no doubt were star struck by her appearance.
    Earlier, Stone served as master of ceremonies for a fundraiser for the AmFAR charity, but a New York Post gossip article said she made self indulgent comments that detracted from the tragedy of babies dying of the AIDS disease.
    Negative publicity can pop up unexpectedly. The wife of film comedian Bill Murray trashed her husband in a divorce filing, according to the New York Post.
    The divorce filing accuses Murray of “adultery, addiction to marijuana and alcohol, abusive behavior, physical abuse, sexual addiction [and] frequent abandonment." That’s a far cry from his loopy, laid back screen image. Of course, divorce filings often make over the top accusations to ratchet up pressure to settle.

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