CGV is offering discounts to anyone who speaks a foreign language or dresses in a cultural costume on April 1 while purchasing tickets in person at the counter.
“It’s a one-day event where we’re saying we’ll give discounts to practically anyone and everyone,” a representative of CGV told The Korea Herald on Thursday.
“You don’t even have to speak a proper foreign language. Say whatever gibberish, we’ll still give the discounts.”
Movie tickets will be offered at a reduced rate of 8,000 won ($7.50) to those who meet the language requirement and at half price to those who dress up in foreign costume. Wearing only either the top or bottom of a costume is also allowed -- as are Martian astronaut suits.
|This image provided by CJ CGV shows a promotional image for the multiplex chain`s upcoming April Fools` Day event, which offers discounts to customers who purchase tickets on-site using "foreign" languages or dress up in foreign attires. (Yonhap)|
CGV has in the past run various promotional events on April Fools’ Day -- a day internationally infamous for its pranks -- such as offering student rates to anyone who purchased tickets dressed in a school uniform and filling any container brought by moviegoers with popcorn.
“We annually throw original events on Manujeol (April Fools’ Day). This year, we wanted to celebrate the many international cultures, as our CGV theaters are increasingly expanding their presence overseas,” the CGV representative said.
CGV has around 100 movie theaters in China and 97 in Turkey, as well as a locations across Southeast Asian in Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar.
However, the event is not being promoted in a language other than Korean. Have a look at http://www.cgv.co.kr/culture-event/event/detail-view.aspx?idx=17720&menu=0.
Intended or not, the event’s brusque, stereotypical portrayal of foreign cultures -- including the implied comparison to Martians -- has garnered criticism from diversity advocates. Some of pointed out that the promotion, for example, implicitly provides incentives for people to wear blackface or mock Indians.
“CGV is actually encouraging and rewarding racist behavior,” wrote a Twitter user at the handle @_Rued_Boy.
“Waiting for April Fool’s Day to see how low Korea can go with this!” wrote @mhwelch1211.
“CGV is having an April Fool‘s event where you get a discount if you ‘act like a foreigner’ with a drawing of a turban and a bindi and facial hair. Why???” wrote @kristinekwak, referencing the event’s poster.
The representative of the movie chain responded to that criticism, saying, “The poster is designed to be funny because it’s an event for April Fools’ Day. The last thing we want to do is mock a culture.”
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)