Former rugby union player Nick Cummins has been accused of 'endorsing human rights abuses' in Hong Kong after he became the face of the government's tourism campaign.
As fellow Aussies, we're used to seeing Cummins do the rounds on television.
Not only was the Ex-Wallabies winger the star of the hit show The Bachelor, but he has also done countless ads for Head & Shoulders, Tradie underwear, Iron Jack beer, VW, National Geographic and many more.
But it seems the Honey Badger's latest campaign with Hong Kong has sparked outrage a bunch of pro-democracy leaders, accused of supporting a government which as a pretty shady past.
“What he is doing is endorsing a government that is violating human rights,” Jane Poon of Australia-Hong Kong Link said.
“The people of the city are actually struggling because of what the government is doing. By taking these jobs celebrities are endorsing a government that is condemned by the international community.”
An article published in the Sydney Morning Herald reads: "In the series of three one-minute ads, Cummins is seen touring through Victoria Harbour, Sham Shui Po and Man Mo Temple while high-fiving students, eating rice noodles and saying “culture”."
When the TV commercials first started running, Cummins told Mumbrella: “Hong Kong is one of my all-time favourite cities in the world. The people, the culture, the hustle, the bustle – you just can’t beat it. From the restaurants and nightlife, to getting outdoors and exploring, there really is something for everyone. I can’t wait for Aussies to explore Hong Kong like I have.”
The civil and political unrest in Hong Kong has been well documented, making headlines around the world.
With the current government at the helm, turmoil has ensued with pro-democracy leaders, students and media organisations all targeted.
Since violent disorder broke out on the streets, a number of high-profile political figures have jailed, leading to allegations of human rights abuses coming from the West.
It's understood local businesses, restaurants and and travel attractions came to a grinding halt.
This complete decline also comes directly after the region's strict lockdown laws in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have sympathy for those businesses, especially the small businesses. But the ads are treating Hong Kong as if nothing has happened,” exiled Hong Kong legislator Ted Hui told the Sydney morning Herald.
“It’s not business as usual at all. It’s a very depressing situation Hong Kong is experiencing.”
Hui went on to say that he didn't doubt Cummins' "as an athlete, not a politician", although he did admit it was “disappointing to see anyone being a part of Beijing’s or the Hong Kong regime’s propaganda”.
He added: “Considering all the brutal crackdowns Hong Kong has had in the past three years, Hong Kong is not as glamorous as it was before.”
SPORTbible has reached out to Nick Cummins' team for comment.
Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Discover Hong Kong/Alamy
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