Panasonic cancels Malaysian beauty contest after social-media firestorm

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Panasonic Beauty Malaysia's beauty contest backfired.
Panasonic Beauty Malaysia's beauty contest backfired.

Amid criticism for excluding the top social pick, Panasonic Beauty Malaysia pulls the plug on the event

MALAYSIA — Panasonic Beauty Malaysia has publicly apologized and announced that it will cancel its "I Love Myself Beauty Search 2014" beauty contest amid criticism of its decision to exclude social media's top choice, Ashley Greig.

The public apology, posted below, has itself drawn negative responses on Facebook for ignoring the woman at the center of the furor, Ashley Greig: 

While Greig won a public vote via social media, she was excluded from the 216 finalists selected by Panasonic. After her inquiries were rebuffed, her supporters took to social media to question the company's commitment to diversity and positive body images for women.

"This is Tih Tjun from the Marketing department with Panasonic Malaysia. On behalf of the company, I would like to share our response to the conversations and criticism surrounding our "I Love Myself Beauty Search 2014" contest for the past weeks.

"First and foremost, we deeply regret that our contest has been received in such a negative light. The intention of the contest is to encourage girls and women out there to acknowledge their self-belief, and celebrate loving one self.

"It was never our intention to perpetuate stereotypes about beauty or discriminate against any specific type of women. This is absolutely not what we had in mind. Having reviewed the mechanics and taking into consideration the feedback we have received, we would like to apologise for not putting clearer contest mechanics and judging criteria into place. In hindsight, we should have had clearer communications surrounding the contest mechanics to reflect the original intention of the contest.

"Please also accept our apologies if we have offended anyone or erred in any way possible.

"After much deliberation, we have come to a very difficult decision to call off the contest. As the community has rightly pointed out to us, the essence and spirit of the contest has deviated from its original intention, thus it would be difficult for everyone involved to continue on.

"On behalf of Panasonic Malaysia, I would like to personally apologize to everyone that took the time and effort to participate, and also to those that voted in our contest. Your effort and feedback is very much appreciated. To show our gratitude to all participants, we will be in touch with you to offer a gift for your contribution.

"This experience has been a valuable learning for us as a company operating in a maturing community that is increasingly vocal and concerned with issues that are close to their hearts. We acknowledge and value the community’s views on our contest, and we will relook at how we conduct similar campaigns in the future."

Greig has responded on Facebook stating that while she would have preferred a public apology that addressed her personally, she will be letting the incident go. She has also announced plans to launch a "worldwide campaign about raising awareness of equality in beauty" with a few of her friends. 

This article originally appeared on campaignasia.com.

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