- BuzzFeed News reported that China’s Xi Jinping and Thailand’s Maha Vajiralongkorn were removed from British GQ’s worst dress list out of fear of causing offense.
- The magazine said Jinping gets his dress sense from “from his hero, the mass murderer Chairman Mao.”
- The list, published on GQ’s website on Thursday, was reduced to eight people reportedly after GQ’s parent company raised concerns.
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The British edition of GQ removed China’s President Xi Jinping and Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn from its list of the world’s worst-dressed men out of fear of causing offense.
The removal was first reported by BuzzFeed News. A spokesperson at Condé Nast, the company that owns British GQ, told BuzzFeed News that the publishing company was afraid the criticism of the two world leaders may be taken out of context if it went viral.
“We are conscious that digitally published stories travel globally and can gain traction where they lack the necessary context and can cause unintended offence,” the spokesperson said.
The men’s magazine released its annual list of the world’s best dressed on Wednesday, with actor Timothée Chalamet topping the list.
Alongside its list of the best-dressed, British GQ also named the world’s ten worst-dressed, which included people like Boris Johnson’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings, who the magazine said dresses like “an unlicensed cab driver,” and the Brazilian soccer player Neymar with a hairstyle like a “dyed-blond spaghetti-like mop.”
The list, with its highly critical captions, was published as a two-page spread in the Magazine’s January 2020 edition and GQ website.
But sometime this week, the list of ten people on the magazine’s website was slimmed down to eight people, with the removal of Jinping and Vajiralongkorn from the list.
According to BuzzFeed News, sources at Condé Nast, GQ’s parent company, said the world leaders were removed after senior management was made aware of the list.
They are, however, still included in the print edition.
GQ compared Xi to Mao Zedong, the founder of China’s ruling Communist Party. His regime led to the death of an estimated 80 million people during his reign.
“It is not Hong Kong’s courageous freedom fighters that Xi Jinping should have a problem with,” GQ wrote. “It’s his tailor. Xi gets totalitarian style cues from his hero, the mass murderer Chairman Mao, who enforced a dour and plain dress code for the Communist Party.”
Vajiralongkorn, the 67-year-old king of Thailand since 2016, was criticized for dressing like a hipster.
“How many others living deities do you know with a penchant for really tight crop tops, hipster jeans and fake tattoos?” the magazine wrote. “The answer is none. And that’s because no others exist.”
In China itself, news and social media are highly regulated. The country monitors news reporting, blacks out publications, and jails dissidents bloggers, journalists, and activists.
The pressure campaign sometimes reaches other countries, too. Amid the pro-democracy Hong Kong protests, Apple removed an application from its app store that allowed Hong Kong protesters to track the movement of police, CNBC reported. And the NBA has struggled with managers and players who are outspoken against Chinese political oppression as basketball becomes increasingly popular in the country.
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- WeChat users in the US say the app is censoring their messages about Hong Kong
- Xi Jinping has had a highly embarrassing week that undermined China’s power in the world. Here’s why he probably doesn’t care.
- A Chinese spy has reportedly defected to Australia, offering its government a cache of intelligence secrets