Protesters decry Prada as biased devil in IPO storm

勞工及婦女團體抗議Prada 上市

Samson Lee

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Local women's rights concern groups have urged Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing to think twice before approving an initial public offering application by fashion retailer Prada.

About 20 members of various groups, which included the Association for the Advancement of Feminism, staged a protest outside a Prada branch in Tsim Sha Tsui yesterday.

Association chairwoman Sally Choi Wing-sze said a senior retail manager, Rina Bovrisse, was fired by Prada Japan in 2009 after she complained about the chief executive's order to eliminate about 15 managerial staff he described as "old, fat, ugly, disgusting or not having the Prada look."

 In addition, Davide Sesia asked her to change her hairstyle and lose weight to remain in the company.

Bovrisse said the chain fired her after she complained about the harassment to head office in Milan.

Choi said the association is concerned over the discriminatory practices and sexual harassment standards of companies listed or to be listed in Hong Kong.

"We believe these standards must be considered as a part of company governance, important as the financial policies because we think the value of individuals' dignity should not be subsumed under the value of money," she said, adding the group has invited Bovrisse to come to Hong Kong to support their campaign.

"She is ready to come to join our activities. We will organize a press conference if she comes."

The groups urged Prada to explain if it has appropriate anti-discriminatory policies in place.

They also called on local consumers to stop buying products from Prada.

Amy Chan Ka-lam, a Hong Kong resident, said it is inappropriate to fire a person because of appearance or age.

However, Chan said she will not stop buying products from Prada.

Concerning Bovrisse's accusations, Prada earlier said the company had a very rigorous code of ethics.

It said appearance, age, gender, political views, social status are not taken into account when recruiting or assessing people. It added it is disappointed at how the accusations are repeatedly reported and presented as truthful.

Bovrisse is suing the chain for alleged discrimination and harassment. 

More on letter to Prada SpA to file for IPO in Hong Kong