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The Ivy Asia restaurant in Chelsea apologises for ‘culturally insensitive’ advert featuring ‘racist’ depictions of Asian people

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A London restaurant has apologised for releasing a “culturally insensitive” promotional video being considered widely as “racist”.

The advert for The Ivy Asia, in Chelsea, was released on Instagram on Saturday (August 8) but has since been deleted after widespread criticism online.

It features women dressed in East Asian clothing in various humiliating scenarios – and has been accused of “mocking Asian people” while profiting off Asian cuisine.

A spokesperson for the restaurant told My London the video was “totally inappropriate” and said it was “conducting an internal review to make 100 per cent sure this does not happen again.”

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The women wore facepaint and communicated wordlessly

The video begins with two Asian women – dubbed “the Ladies” finishing a shopping trip and hailing a cab.

After one of them hails for a taxi, “the Driver” appears, manually carrying a carriage behind him.

The women struggle to board the vehicle, which proves too much for the driver to carry himself.

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The cab topples and the women fall out

The carriage tips over and another character – “the Hero” descends from the sky.

Through special effects, “the Hero” uses superpowers to enable the driver to carry the women to King’s Road, West London, where the Ivy Asia is located.

The four characters arrive at the restaurant and as the women struggle to both fit through the door, they collapse onto the floor, spilling their shopping.

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The Hero appears

The people in the restaurant look at the women incredulously, before the shot cuts to the four characters enjoying a meal together.

Despite being taken down, the video has been widely shared and criticised on Twitter.

One Twitter user wrote: “I don’t want to live anymore.

“I think everyone involved in this should be fired into the sun.”

Another, who called the video “Little Britain-level”, said they were “absolutely astonished that any restaurant, influencer, critic, or writer promoting it could stand by this.”

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The ladies and the cab driver clink glasses at the end of the video

A spokesperson for Ivy Asia told My London: “We would like to sincerely apologise for the offence caused by our marketing video.

“It was wrong. It was done naively and it was totally inappropriate and culturally insensitive.

“We had a complete ignorance of understanding.

“We are conducting an immediate internal review of our marketing processes and publication guidelines to make 100 per cent sure this does not happen again.

“We need to educate ourselves and we are already looking to engage the relevant external bodies to review concept, culture and all internal and external processes.

“We must learn lessons and move forward in a totally new and appropriate way.

“Once again, we apologise unreservedly.”

The Ivy brand is one of the most well-known chains of luxury restaurants in London. It’s been around for more than 100 years as the restaurant chain celebrated its hundredth anniversary in 2017.

A popular celebrity haunt, the first Ivy opened in London’s West Street in 1917, but now there are restaurants all across the capital and around Britain and Ireland.

The Ivy Asia, a restaurant serving Asian cuisine and a late-night bar, is Ivy’s newest collection. It first opened as part of Manchester’s Ivy restaurant in Spinningfields, which opened in 2018. There are now two Ivy Asias in London – one in St Paul’s and the one in Chelsea.

The Ivy Chelsea, located on King’s Road, only opened for the first time this summer.

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/zone-1-news/ivy-asia-restaurant-chelsea-apologises-21258479