- Queen's grandson labelled 'Royal Peter for hire' after appearing in milk commercial for Shanghai-based Bright Food Group
- TV host Piers Morgan defends himself after mocking Chinese language when commenting on ad
A controversy over Queen Elizabeth's oldest grandson using his royal connections to sell milk on Chinese television has turned into a celebrity-led race row after one of the UK's top TV anchors commenting on the story crudely mocked the Chinese language.
Peter Phillips, the 42-year-old son of Princess Anne, sparked criticism after he appeared sipping a glass of milk in a commercial by Shanghai-based Bright Food Group, China's second largest food conglomerate.
Susannah Reid is complicit in Piers Morgan's completely offensive behaviour. To sit by and say 'Piers' in an 'ooooh, isn't he awful' tone whilst he puts on a mocking Chinese accent just isn't good enough. pic.twitter.com/FdLYdYRvr6
" Kate Polka (@KatePolka) January 21, 2020
In the ad shown on Dragon TV, Phillips boasts of being raised on Jersey milk from the herd at Windsor Castle before savouring the milk in a room that looks like an English aristocratic home with a view over Shanghai.
Piers Morgan, host of the ITV show Good Morning Britain then fuelled accusations of racism when he mocked the language in the advert, leaving his co-host Susanna Reid cringing.
"At the next royal event, can you imagine Christmas at Sandringham is like " 'I'm sorry your majesty, but I only drink yang yank yong ying ming milk'," he said.
As they aired the ad again, Morgan continued: "OK then " ching chang chong, OK I got it."
'Royal Peter' for hire in China: As Prince Harry flies to Canada to earn millions, the Queen's eldest grandson Peter Phillips is revealed to be trading on his royal status by advertising milk on TVhttps://t.co/9FlNesAaWx pic.twitter.com/ZoYSd6biSB
" Brightly (@Brightl36034096) January 21, 2020
Reid reprimanded him: "For god's sake … taking the mick out of languages is rather 1970s."
The row comes amid allegations of "royals for rent", as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, better known as Harry and Meghan, embark on their new lives in Canada after resigning their royal duties in order to make their own money.
Morgan, who has been one of Meghan Markle's fiercest critics, has interviewed her estranged family members in the US several times and has frequently rejected accusations that racial prejudice triggered the flight of the biracial former actress from the UK.
One of the first people to criticise Morgan was the former England football player John Barnes.
"Just saw @piersmorgan on GMB mocking Chinese people on the way they speak, what are the odds he faces no criticism for it … there's an example for Laurence Fox of white privilege," he tweeted, in reference to recent comments made by singer and actor Laurence Fox criticising the racism accusations around Markle.
"It really is Dumb Privileged White Man Season innit," tweeted the actor and playwright Daniel Yok Loh.
"Go on, @ me. If you're White working class these toff gammons are *not* your friend".
It really is Dumb Privileged White Man Season innit. Go on, @ me. If you're White working class these toff gammons are *not* your friend"Piers Morgan horrifies viewers as he mocks Chinese language on GMB" https://t.co/janB4cTodG via @MetroUK
" Daniel York Loh (@danielfyork) January 21, 2020
The academic and broadcaster Gregor Lee tweeted: "Piers Morgan and the old ching-chang-chong routine. Of course, this isn't and never has been racist, right? I still expect this in France, I thought it was in the past in the UK. But then … the past is back."
Morgan defended himself saying he was not mocking the Chinese people, only Phillips. But many of the shows viewers took to Twitter calling for him to be sacked.
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Phillips has already come under media fire for his commercial ties to Chinese companies when last year it emerged that he, his sister Zara Tindell and his aunt, the Duchess of York had forged lucrative ties with the Hong Kong-born venture capitalist Johnny Hon Sei-hoe.
Hon denied he was "buying influence" with the British establishment and rejected suggestions that he had links to the Chinese state.
Tindall, a former Olympic equestrian medal winner, was paid GBP100,000 (US$130,000) a year as a non-executive director of Hon's Global Group between August 2016 and March 2017, according to The Times newspaper.
Last summer Phillips attended a dinner to launch the Global Group Premier Racing Club in Hong Kong.
Bright Foods meanwhile is striving to meet the growing demand among Chinese consumers for quality international food. It has made 10 major foreign acquisitions since 2010 as part of a drive to access more international markets, including the iconic British breakfast cereal Weetabix.
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In the TV ad, Phillips raises the glass of milk and says: "This is what I drink", before the ad ends with a caption that reads: "British royal family member, Peter Phillips."
Images in the ad are of Longleat, another stately home in Wiltshire, and the images of jersey cows grazing appear to be in Switzerland. Longleat told The Daily Mail it did not give permission for filming the commercial there.
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