China's top online sales host Li Jiaqi apologized on Monday after he blamed viewers who found the price of an eyebrow pen expensive, that they were not working hard enough to make more money during a live-streaming session.
Li, the famed "Lipstick King" who has about 75.76 followers on Taobao Live, Alibaba's live-streaming platform, was making a pitch about an eyebrow pen on Saturday evening. He then read out a comment from a viewer saying the product including two refills priced at 79 yuan ($10.8) has become more expensive.
Li seemed to be upset about the comment and said the price of the product has remained unchanged over the years.
"The product is expensive? Sometimes people need to find the reasons why they haven't received a pay rise after working so many years. Have they worked hard enough?" he said.
Many people then said Li's comments were inappropriate and had made them angry. The topic of his comment became one of the most discussed topics on social media on Sunday.
"The consumers have the right to question the price of a product, but Li has no right to judge the consumers and slash out on people's spending power. What he said was outrageous," a Sina Weibo user said on Sunday.
Others also said that as someone who had made a fortune by being a celebrated online sales host, Li may find 79 yuan is next to nothing but for many working-class people who have been working very hard for a better life, every penny counts. And Li's snobbish attitude has shocked them.
Around 1 am on Monday, Li published a statement on social media apologizing for his comments and making people disappointed.
"I am sorry for letting people down. I've made some inappropriate comments that have made people unconformable," Li said in the statement.
He added that he started his career as a cosmetic sales assistant, so he understands people's struggles. He also vowed to learn to better control his emotions in the future.