On Sunday night when people normally are calling early nights ahead of Monday, a Facebook post by the son of Champagne Deutz CEO, who also works as a representative of the 182-year-old Champagne house, however, has set China’s wine circle ablaze.
Writing on his personal Facebook page, Patrick Rosset, the son of the Reims-based Champagne Deutz CEO, ranted against China, where the novel coronavirus originated, and called for a boycott of all Chinese products “at whatever costs” after the virus spreads beyond China to elsewhere.
Before stopping short, he further railed against the country for dragging down the global economy because of the COVID-19 disease.
His original post and follow-up comment can be seen below:
The post immediately caused an uproar and by 9 pm tonight, Rosset appeared to have deleted the controversial post on Facebook and has since issued a public apology.
But his later reply to one commentator called Dahe Liu, a Chinese living in France, further inflamed the situation where Rosset said in French that if Chinese don’t like what he said, “they can go back to where they come from.”
As outrage grew, by midnight Sunday Rosset appeared to have deleted his whole Facebook account altogether after his apology failed to appease angry Chinese who are flooding his posts with comments even though Facebook remains blocked within mainland China.
Screen grabs of the now-deleted post have made rounds on Chinese social media and by night an influential Chinese wine media had picked up the news, calling Rosset’s post racist.
Since the posting of the Chinese article on Rosset’s comments, within one hour it has become viral and is shared by people on WeChat among Chinese importers, merchants and wine lovers both in China and in France.
According to Chinese media reports, a few online platforms have pulled Champagne Deutz from its selling platforms but Vino Joy News can’t verify the news.
Calls for boycotting Champagne Deutz, which is owned by Louis Roederer grew louder as many start to share it on WeChat.
One comment says, “from now on, Chinese people can say goodbye to Deutz.”
Even though Facebook is blocked in mainland China, still comments posted by Chinese people in reaction to Rosset’s apology quickly flooded it.
Jun Ruan, a Chinese sommelier in France, wrote, “I don’t think you need Chinese products, and we Chinese don’t need your wines either. It’s very fair, isn’t it? Cheers to your new customers.”
Another wrote, “Just emptied two bottles of Duetz in the toilet. Never in my life because it smell racism and it disgusts me.”
As COVID-19 became a global pandemic, countries are struggling to contain the spread.
The virus was first publicly reported in China in December, and has now spread close to 90 countries, overwhelming Europe and the US, with limited and under-prepared medical staff even weeks after the outbreak in China.
Last week, the origin of the virus became a focal point of tension between China and the US, when the spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian posted on his verified twitter account (which is blocked in China) that the virus actually originated in the US and was carried into China by American soldiers, echoing conspiracy theory that is spreading online on Chinese social media platforms.
The US has since protested Zhao’s comments and summoned Chinese ambassador to the US.
Zhao’s original tweet can be seen below:
Some #influenza deaths were actually infected with #COVID-19, Robert Redfield from US #CDC admitted at the House of Representatives. US reported 34 million cases of influenza and 20,000 deaths. Please tell us how many are related to COVID-19? @CDCDirector pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020