Parent company angered by Children's Day spat

Cherry GmbH has distanced itself from the angry controversy that engulfed a lucky draw on International Children's Day.

A German gaming keyboard company has apologized after a seemingly innocuous lucky draw to celebrate International Children's Day on its Weibo account turned into a war of words with as much fire and brimstone as the games themselves.

The Germany company, Cherry GmbH, issued a statement that read: "Due to the recent developments regarding our Chinese Weibo account, CHERRY, as a globally operating company, clearly distances itself from an anti-feminist and sexist attitudes.”

On June 1, Cherry China, the Chinese mainland agent for German computer peripheral device maker Cherry GmbH, posted on its official Weibo account, "… a lucky draw to give out three keyboards and pick four boys to receive a popular game. We hope everyone cherish boys who love to play games."

If that wasn't bad enough, about half an hour later, in a separate post, Cherry China promised some free cosmetics for some lucky girls.

A comment under the post questioned Cherry China's attitude, and the tit-for-tat response soon became an angry debate over discrimination.

The comment by "Huoyepangci" said: "Girls are unworthy of playing games."

Cherry China reacted, "Which sentence makes you draw this conclusion???"

Another Weibo user then asked under the first announcement, "If the winner turns out to be a girl, will you still give the gift?"

Cherry China responded: "Of course. No gender preference for the draw."

Then, obviously inflamed, whoever was manning the keyboard at Cherry China proceeded to lash out at comments similar to “Huoyepangci,” sometimes in quite offensive language, entirely unsuitable for a Children’s Day event. 

"Free games for boys means girls not deserving to play games? The black-and-white thinking and poor reading abilities make you even inferior to kids, you don't deserve Children's Day!"

Later that day, “Huoyepangci” said on Weibo she had been criticized and abused for her comment, accused of being a “fictitious” feminist.

"I have apologized for my tone, but I won't change my view! Games and keyboards for boys, lipsticks and and perfume for girls — this is called stereotyping. I saw Cherry China say they would still give out the games if the winner was a girl, so why did they mention gender in the original post?"

Some defended Cherry China. 

"The company has the right to target customers as they please, it’s just that the orientation is not very accurate (excluding girls from its target customers), but you can't say it discriminates against girls. Makeup promotions generally target women, so are they also discriminatory?"

The next day, Cherry China again defended itself on Weibo. 

"I said boys love to play games. They accused me of saying that I think girls are not qualified to play games. When I said a few foul-smelling people disgusted me, they said I had attacked female fans. When I asked a person which sentence in my post made he or she think so, they said I deliberately highlighted that person to drive a negative response. I gave out free gifts in two batches in two separate draws, and they said I have gender stereotypes and wanted to start a gender war."

The parent company obviously feels somewhat differently to the anonymous voice behind the poorly conceived promotion. The Cherry GmbH disavowal continued: “Our aim is to treat all sexes equally and respectfully at all times. CHERRY neither supports nor tolerates morally questionable behaviour. The raffle to celebrate the Chinese 'Children’s Day' was therefore never intended to defame the female gender. This would also not reflect CHERRY’s ethical position and contradicts our modern company philosophy. To us it is important to always treat all fans of the brand, business partners and customers with the appropriate amount of respect.”

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