With cute, hydrating face masks and BB creams all the rage in beauty, it’s clear that Korean self-care techniques have landed in the global spotlight. But even with its growing prestige, the Korean beauty industry can’t escape the pettiness of racism.
Chanel Brusco, a Swiss beauty blogger known online as Cocomadkilla, has faced a storm of criticism this week after insulting Asian people by calling them “ching-chongs” in a review for a K-beauty product from a company called Glowrious.
“As you may have noticed, you discover a lot of funny stuff in the east,” Brusco wrote in a post published in early July.
“Many of us don’t always understand the ‘Ching Chongs’ with the black hair and funny clothes (hihi). But what makes us all the same, is our love for sleep and beautiful skin.”
The original post and review, in which Brusco praised the products, appears to have been removed from the internet, but it was captured and republished by Instagram user @fabulouslytourettes on July 3. It went viral this week after Twitter account @ESEAsianBeauty tweeted a screenshot of the review.
Brusco did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
In a video accompanying the review, also since taken down, Brusco reportedly called the Glowrious company representative who sent her the package “Ching Wong Yung,” according to Asian news and culture blog yomfyomf.com.
The beauty blogger has since made all of her social media accounts private, but that hasn’t stopped people from scrutinizing her words. The Asian community on Twitter was especially vocal.
One Twitter user pointed out that Brusco insulted Asians, yet praised the Korean beauty product all in one paragraph. Another pointed out that the use of “ching chong” is a lazy, albeit offensive, slur.
The attention on Brusco’s review reminded one person of a 2016 tweet written by Twitter user @absurdistwords about oppression in America, which could also highlight the absurdity of Brusco’s insulting review. Absurdistwords amended the tweet on Wednesday to better relate to the situation.
Brusco apologized in a recent Instagram post, calling her choice of words a “joke” she wrote “without [realizing] it would have such an impact and offend so many people.”
She said she is “of Italian descent” with a sense of humor that “comes with an edge, but I am certainly not a racist.” She explained that she had “many friends of different origin and culture and appreciate these people very much.”
“I am against any kind of racism,” Brusco wrote. “I hope we can all move on.”
But by the time she posted her apology, the damage had been done.
Brusco’s review also was damaging to the beauty industry as a whole, according to Michelle Lee, the editor-in-chief of Allure magazine.
Lee, in a series of tweets on Wednesday, called for Brusco’s fans and sponsors to drop her, and described the blogger as “horribly and openly racist.”
“The beauty world has done such a great job in recent years to be more inclusive and to celebrate the beauty of all people,” Lee tweeted Wednesday.
“This isn’t just an ‘Asian’ issue & we shouldn’t just call on Asian twitter to drag her,” Lee added. “We ALL should bc this type of bigotry hurts us all.”