Fast food titan McDonald’s caved to online outrage and apologized to China for an ad showing Taiwan as an independent country.
The ad depicts a young woman celebrating her good fortune after her ID was miraculously cleaned by unlikely circumstances.
The online outrage came after a close-up of said ID listed “Taiwan” as her nationality.
The online mob took to the video’s comments section to express outrage which later merited a verified McDonald’s account to deliver an official statement on the matter.
“The advertising agency failed to carry out strict background checks on the video and caused a misunderstanding,” read the statement. “We deeply regret this.”
“We have always supported the one-China policy and we are determined to continue to uphold China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Notable comments that stirred controversy on Chinese social media site Weibo include:
“McDonald’s, this is what you want to do? Help Taiwan independence?” Reads one comment.
Another comment is more specific: “What is Taiwan? It’s a province! The girl’s nationality should be China.”
In addition to the apology, the ad was pulled and McDonald’s thought it important to mention the commercial was directed by a Taiwanese agency.
This is the latest case of China strong-arming U.S. companies to honor their stance on Taiwan.
Last July, major U.S. airlines caved to China’s demand to change how they list Taiwan as an independent country on their booking websites in a move the White House described as “Orwellian nonsense.”
As a result, American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines used Taipei’s airport code and city instead of direct references to Taiwan as a country.
“United Airlines has begun to roll out changes to its systems to address China’s requirements,” said a United Airlines spokesman. “United abides by and respects local laws and regulations in all markets and jurisdictions where we operate and conduct business.”