Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc has apologized for printing what many describe as a sexist slogan on the company's shipping boxes of cosmetics, after the slogan sparked widespread outrage.
In a post on its official Weibo account on Tuesday, JD.com's cosmetics division said that the "inappropriate" slogan on the boxes has attracted attention and criticism and that the company expresses its "most sincere apology."
Earlier some shoppers posted pictures of of JD.com's s's shipping boxes with a slogan in Chinese, which roughly translates to "Without applying lipstick, what's the difference between you and a man?"
"This is truly naked sexism," an online user commented on Tuesday. "Strangely, I have been kicked out of the women's group just because I never applied lipstick," another one wrote.
While stopping short of calling it a sexist slogan, JD.com recognized that it was a mistake and that the company was going to take remedial measures to "minimize the negative impact."
The slogan had been printed on 300,000 boxes, with 1,000 of them already being shipped out, according to the JD.com statement.
It said it would immediately destroy the rest of the boxes and send a package of cosmetics to each of the customers who already received the boxes.
"JD.com's cosmetics business is at a developmental stage and the inappropriate slogan was led by an incorrect attitude and a blind pursuit of marketing gimmicks," the statement said, adding it would punish those responsible for the slogan and improve procedures.
The latest episode came after JD.com CEO Richard Liu Qiangdong was arrested in the U.S. over a sexual harassment accusation in late August. An investigation into the case was completed in late September and prosecutors in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he was arrested, are reviewing the case to determine whether to bring any charges against Liu, according to media reports.
Liu has vehemently denied the accusations.