Lazada has come under fire in Thailand after an influencer named Aniwat Prathumthi posted a TikTok video promoting Lazada's 5.5 sale which supposedly contained a veiled reference to a royal family member. The ad, which has since been delete from Prathumthi's TikTok profile but is still circulating online, showed her and another influencer named Thidaporn Chaokuwiang trying on traditional Thai outfits.
Chaokuwiang, who was in a wheelchair, was scolded by Prathumthi's character for wearing her clothes. According to Reuters , royalists took offence to the video, saying that Chaokuwiang's character resembled and mocked Princess Chulabhorn who is required to use a wheelchair as a result of Lupus, an autoimmune disease. The video did not mention any royal family members, Reuters said. The ad first came under the spotlight after a Facebook page, Street Hero V3, posted the clip asking if this was done by the two influencers or Lazada itself because it mocked the monarchy. The page also called for Lazada customers to cancel their purchases and delete the Lazada app.
Lazada has since apologised for the "emotional damage" the video had caused, adding that it should have been more careful, Reuters said. Meanwhile, Prathumthi explained that the TikTok video was a parody of a famous Thai soap opera, adding that the royal insult was "all in [critics'] imagination", Reuters said. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Lazada for comment.
Meanwhile, Intersect Design Factory, the agency which was brought on board to coordinate influencer management and create content for Lazada's 5.5 sale, clarified in a Facebook post that it was not involved in any of the images published online as well as Prathumthi's TikTok video. "We express our condolences for the incident and appreciate all comments and suggestions for further development of work," the post said. Nonetheless, the hashtag #BanLazada has been trending on Twitter after the TikTok video came to light.
Thailand's lese-majeste forbids any insult of the monarchy and according to the BBC in 2017, has been increasingly enforced following the military coup in 2014. Article 112 of Thailand's criminal code states that whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to 15 years. A legal complaint has since been filed against Prathumthi for breaking the lese-majeste law as well as the Computer Crime Law, The Bangkok Post said.