Melbourne promoter apologises for “racist” coronavirus event

A Victorian promotional company has apologised after being accused for organising a “racist” event that would have profited from the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.

Mr Chan’s was set to host the “Corona Chinese New Year Special” at Melbourne’s Pawn & Co.  At the event, guests would have been able to buy a Corona beer for $8 and receive a free face mask, alongside “Happy Ending” cocktails.

Anthony Leong, the secretary-general of the Pacific China Friendship association, described the event as “ignorant, racist and insensitive”. His comments came shortly before it was cancelled.

“I was surprised that somebody, anybody, could be so insensitive and ignorant in terms of profiting from this and thinking it was funny,” Leong told ABC News.

The organisation of the event comes amid the mounting Novel-coronavirus (officially named COVID-19) health crisis, which Chinese authorities said on Tuesday had killed at least 1,016 people.

More than 40,000 cases of infection have been confirmed globally by the World Health Organization (WHO) since the virus emerged.

“I think the timing is not just ill-conceived and insulting – it also shows a lack of knowledge, empathy and humanity,” Leong said of Mr Chan’s proposed event.

On Friday, Pawn & Co. posted to social media that it had cancelled “any further events with the ‘Mr Chan’s’ promoters”.

Mr Chan’s followed by advising it recognised the promotion of the event was “offensive” and apologised for the “inappropriate” material.

“We recognise that a promotional post that was made last week was offensive and we unreservedly apologise for this,” the company said.

“We also recognise that some of our past promotional material was inappropriate. Once again, we apologise for this.

“We are taking action and reviewing the Mr Chan’s branding immediately. It is important for us to run a night that is inclusive for all.”

Leong, however, believes the apology was “too little, too late”.

“It is making a mockery of a situation that is now global, not just Chinese,” he said. “They need to be held to account.

“To make light of something that has been fatal to hundreds of people is the height of inhumanity and insensitivity.”

Featured image: An alleged promotional image for the controversial “Corona Chinese New Year Special” event (Instagram/the.llag)