Actress Stone and Dior Differ Over Apology
By CATHY HORYN
Published: June 1, 2008
THERE is no denying that the high-heeled foot in Sharon Stone’s mouth at the Cannes Film Festival belongs to the actress herself. She admitted that her comments suggesting that karmic retribution may have caused the devastating earthquakes in China were blithering.
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“Clearly, I sound like an idiot,” said Ms. Stone on Thursday evening from her home in Los Angeles, after she had watched a widely viewed Internet video of her remarks from Cannes.
In the red-carpet interview on May 22, Ms. Stone, who was about to enter a fund-raising gala for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, of which she was a host, told a journalist: “I’m not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And the earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you’re not nice that bad things happen to you?”
The comments created a stir in the Chinese news media and on blogs, and Dior, which has a modeling contract with Ms. Stone for a face cream, removed her from advertising in China, fearing a backlash. Dior’s Shanghai office issued a statement in which Ms. Stone was quoted apologizing: “I am deeply sorry and sad about hurting Chinese people.”
In the 45-minute telephone interview Thursday night, Ms. Stone was at first strident and then contrite about her remarks. She insisted her comments in Cannes had been taken out of context. She also said that she resisted Dior’s efforts at damage control, and that the apology issued in her name distorted her words.
Early last week, Ms. Stone said, she received a call from Sidney Toledano, the chief executive of Dior, which hired the actress for beauty advertisements in 2005. “I talked to Sidney and I said: ‘Let’s get serious here. You guys know me very well. I’m not going to apologize. I’m certainly not going to apologize for something that isn’t real and true — not for face creams.’ ”
Ms. Stone said the interview in Cannes with her remarks about Tibet and karma came at the end of a media line of 80 to 100 television crews. She believes, but is not certain, the interviewer was from a Hong Kong television station. The call letters on the microphone are blurred out on Internet sites showing the video.
If Ms. Stone’s expression in the video seemed unduly happy as she referred to the earthquakes in Sichuan Province, which have taken the lives of more than 68,000 people, it may be because, as she said on Thursday, she had recently been in communication with the Bridge Fund, which does work on behalf of Tibetans, and was touched by the group’s relief efforts in the devastated area.
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