Yesterday, WWD reported on Parisian clothing brand Zadig + Voltaire’s first foray into the hospitality business with a hotel set to open on the Left Bank in Paris sometime in 2014.
Seems innocuous enough right? Well, here’s where it gets bad, because, as it turns out, the new property won’t be all that hospitable–depending on what your race is, that is.
Speaking to WWD, Zadig + Voltaire founder and owner Thierry Gillier said of the new venture:
“This was a project dear to our hearts. We are going to select guests. It won’t be open to Chinese tourists, for example. There is a lot of demand in Paris — many people are looking for quiet hotels with a certain privacy.”
Um, what? Besides being a totally inexcusable and shocking display of blatant racism, it’s also a really dumb thing to say to a trade paper. Racism is usually not a draw for a new hotel, and in this case, all press is definitely not good press.
A fact which Gillier may have realized because soon after people noticed the offending comment, WWD amended the article, replacing “Chinese tourists” with “busloads of tourists.” However, because this is the internet, it was already way too late: Vogue UK had already included the quote in their story and other news sources followed suit.
Whether or not Gillier’s press team convinced the trade paper to amend the article or WWD did it of their own volition, remains unknown. Either way it’s a pretty awkward gaffe for both the respected news source and the creative director. We’ve reached out to both parties and are waiting to hear back.