I just bought some more Derby.
I call for a boycott until guerlain and LVMH disassociate themselves from the remarks and break ties with him
I just bought some more Derby.
We are talking about the remarks of *one* man here... and whilst JP is still an occasional advisor to his protegee, he lends little else to the company these days other than his surname. Its all very unfortunate and a really very foolish comment to make, but I personally feel a boycott is disproportionate to the public faux-pas of a seventysomethingyearold man.
This being said though, the PR team at H.O. must be putting out fires in their sleep!
I'm curious to see how LVMH will handle this... Maybe they'll just ignore it, wait for it to blow over.
I understand that he used a phrase containing society's last true "bad word", but seriously, the whole thing is so overblown.
I remember when I was a teenager working in a fast food joint. We were getting slammed. This white maintenance guy walked past us all and uttered that line, that we were "working like a bunch of n*****s." We wouldn't have been too shocked because that's how a lot of people still talked, but I looked over at my buddy who was biracial to see his reaction--and he was laughing, though slightly taken aback as he looked at the guy and cleared his throat. "Hey, watch what you're saying!" he retorted.
Without missing a beat, the offender just replied with a glint in his eye, "It's OK Eric, I was just talking to your white half." And honestly, it was so offensive and just wrong, but still hilarious that my friend and I couldn't stop laughing our asses off. We were half-way intelligent enough to understand that while the guy was using language that he shouldn't have used, it didn't mean that he wanted to physically put chains on anybody or string Eric from a tree? No. The maintenance guy walked out the back door, and our day continued as it had before. There was no talk of getting the guy fired for using such language. It never crossed anybody's mind to make a big deal out it. We laughed at the guy for putting his foot in his mouth and then we went on about our work.
I understand what you're saying Hirch, I do. But I think the best way to deal with occasional utterance of such ugly words isn't to run around boycotting this and banning that. There are a lot of horrible things that people DO in this world to other people-- JP Guerlain was just using an outdated colloquialism--offensive as it may be-- it's not like he necessarilyis a racist because he used such an expression. Going all out and labelling someone a racist and then calling down hellfire upon them is to label someone in the exact same way that a true racist labels people. I don't like racist labels, but I also dislike labelling people as racists just the same.
I've worked with a lot of different people in my life-- I've been around older black guys who used old outdated expressions and names for groups of people that are not the accepted norm, but nobody gets offended because we understand that it's casual language and we know that they grew up in a different era.
I'd like to see him apologize for using those words, but come on,we don't have to stone the guy. He's not a murderer or a child molester. There's a difference between being a genocidal monster who who advocates abusing people based on their skin color and a guy who is trying to make a joke with colorful language that really has nothing to do with race. Nobody will ever be perfect. I think it's just better to accept that all people are people and move on.
I don't have to tell you that Miles Davis wasn't the most colorblind guy in the world-- that won't stop me from digging his music. I'm not going to stop listening to Wagner either. That's just how I feel. I understand why you feel the way you do and respect that; and I can understand why some would want a boycott, but I just don't agree. That's just my take on it.
EDIT: I'm basing my post solely on his comments on the French TV show. I just now saw the other thread regarding JP Guerlain, and I see that some have mentioned past behaviors which supposedly point to a pattern of behavior. I couldn't find anything on this and was curious to see if some of you have more info.
Last edited by Indie_Guy; 17th October 2010 at 10:40 AM. Reason: added something.
He is of a certain age , many people of a similar age will more than likely say un-pc things or share similar views which are irrelavant .
Storm in a tea cup ...
According to the CNN.com article I read last night, JP did apologize - profusely. This could have been an age-related gaff, or it could have been truly a rascist thought, but one utterance in public isn't enough to judge him on whether he's a rascist. True rascists usually leave an evidence trail through their lives that confirms their true stuff.
As far as seniors inadvertendtly saying the darndest things, my 88-year old dad says stupid things that he would have NEVER said in his 50s or even 60s. Age does curious things to a person's mind. I don't argue with him anymore.
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The man is 70-something years old. That, in-and-of-itself, deserves some respect and some lattitude. I believe in always putting the most-favorable and -charitable construction on things. He was talking about how he created a fragrance for a woman he was in love with; I will accept that he was simply swept up in the passion of his fond memories and, in that mode, made a simple slip. It is not something he has publically made a habit of. It was a on-time incident.
He quickly appologied. Let us all be gracious and accept his appology and move on.
My grandfather came from a time when comments like that were made off the cuff. He was indeed a bit of a racist at least by how he spoke, and would say things that shocked us kids. He never treated ANYONE of any color any different than the way he treated the rest of the people in his life, so the words he uttered were given latitude as something "from another time." That did not make the comments right, but it also did not mean we didn't love my Grandfather dearly. Times were different for him as a child and we have no way to know exactly how he came to think the way he did.
We would not have disassociated ourselves from him because of his old-fashioned ideas and comments any more than I would disassociate myself from the Guerlain scents I have, based upon a few public comments that seem to be "from another time."
That said, I WOULD consider not buying another Guerlain scent if the new company's policies were found to be exploitative or discriminatory, but not just based on a few careless words of a very old-school gentleman. It's not as though JPG is out there acting like a neo-Nazi and spouting hate like some people (people who should know better but choose not to) in this world are doing right now.
Even if his statement wasn't an age related faux pas or a result of an obsolete generational mindset, the man is entitled to his opinions and views even if others do not agree with them. Perhaps he feels his views on race are reasonable and justifiable based upon his experiences. Even if he didn't apologize, he should be allowed to have his beliefs.
I wholeheartedly disagree with fascistic thinking, where everyone must toe the line and accept the commonly held groupthink paradigm or else be severely castigated and ostracized. If we consider ourselves to be enlightened, let the man think the way he wishes and express his opinions without judgment.
I'm not supporting his beliefs, whatever those may be, or his statement, but I am supporting his right to hold and state those beliefs freely. He should be able to do so without hysterical overreaction or fear of reprisal. Our society has become so hypersensitive, intolerant, judgmental, insecure, fearful, self-righteous and politically correct that any deviation from the norm is treated as blasphemy against holy dogma.
I would boycott Guerlain if he was still a part of the company. As it is, I'll certainly have some negative associations with Samsara for a while.
As for people's nearest and dearest racists, If someone holds me to different standards of acceptable behavior just because I'm elderly, it's time for the green dream. Seriously, if I start going on about "The Pakis" like my grandfather did, throw me off the nearest cliff. It's what my younger self would have wanted.
1) Someone makes a statement. ( This is free speech. )
2) Other people disagree with that statement. ( Somehow a hideous form of oppression. )
I don't believe in arresting or stopping Mr. Guerlain from saying any number of hateful things. Yet, if I stopped wanting to use his creations over that, or wanted to publicly object to that statement, shouldn't that be my one of my freedoms, too?
Not every country had slavery and its not considered a bad word for them.
Guerlain will sell more perfume in the next week than they have in the last month, especially bottles of Samsara.
And for the most part, what JPG says has nothing to do with whether or not I'll buy Guerlain fragrances.
Last edited by pluran; 17th October 2010 at 06:51 PM.
My hypothesis is that people would be more likely to take offense and boycot if the exact same statements were made by someone associated with less loved perfumes. The same way people are more likely to care about the rights of kittens and dogs than the rights of those tasty cows.
a) That people will deliberately buy it out of sympathy for his views (very disturbing)
b) That the publicity generated will lead to more sales regardless of the reason for said publicity (disturbing).
Either way - is it not important to challange views or utterances like this. If they are not challanged, how do we expect them to change?
I agree that this was a faux pas made by a man of an older generation. He is probably not as P.C. nor aware as younger French people. If he has already seen this mistake and apologised as Snafoo observed, IMO, we need to move on. How many times do we see elderly American World War Two veterans interviewed on television using the derogatory term "japs" in their discussion? We need to just see this as a generational thing, see how things have changed and move on.
For the record, the French traditionally were more open to those of African origin when doors were still closed to them in the Western world. Look at the likes of Josephine Baker, hailed during the Jazz Age as the goddess of sensuality in France and the sensation of Paris. She was called la "Venus noire." She exulted in her African heritage and beauty, and honored her adopted country of France in the French Resistance movement of WWII. (ELdO have a perfume honouring her, BTW.) ELdO is a French company and Etienne Swardt is NOT of M. Guerlain's generation.
Keep in mind that as a culture, the French abolished chattel slavery (1794) waaaay before the U.K. (1833) and also the U.S. (1863)
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Emerging from the sordid poverty and racial intolerance of early 20th Century St. Louis, she delighted audiences all over America and Europe with her exuberant dancing and sexual frankness.
Created by Cécile Matton for Etat Libre d'Orange, Josephine Baker is a wonderful cocktail of citrus, spice and gourmand notes. A passionate perfumist, Cécile has created perfumes for Yves Saint Laurent, Cartier and Jacomo.
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Last edited by Primrose; 17th October 2010 at 08:00 PM.
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Wow - I give this thread a day or two tops, because it's getting disturbingly political already...
My two cents: I can only speak as an American, but we seem to have a recurring problem here in the US where someone says or does something utterly racist and cruel, and whenever anyone rightly calls them on it, tons of people come out of the woodwork to defend the racist. It implies that somehow calling someone who is clearly racist a racist is somehow worse than being racist, which is baffling. It's sort of a herd mentality that reenforces unspoken racist social norms and attempts to intimidate victims of racism under the guise of protecting free speech. This wider-scale show of support for the racist then creates a situation where the oppressed people who are the victims of racism are subtly being told that the racist is right and don't you dare fight him (which, in the end, is the exact opposite of the preservation of freedom that the commenters claim is their goal).
OK, so the man made some perfumes you like - does that, or his age, really give him carte blanche to be a dick?
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I appreciate your valiant intent and righteous nature Hirch, sticking up so quickly for a minority group.
But I don't see it as outright hateful xenophobic malice & mischief like the US extreme right.
This seems more like a tasteless attempt at humor by an old wasp, worthy of scorn,
but not a post-apology-boycott imo. He's apologized, with seemingly genuine emotion.
Andas a consumer, there are so many people involved with Guerlain, that no matter what the head says, it's the juice that matters in the end, I'm not all that big on Guerlain anyways, they are not a great masculine house at all, imo. Vetiver Sport is just good enough to own, & their Eauxs are bested by Patricia Nicolai, Creed, and now even Penhaligons imo. No big loss even if I did boycott.
edit: after seeing another translation, it actually does seem dismissively mean-spirited.
the man is an @sshole.
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I am French and all I can say is that Guerlain, being from the older generation, used a well worn, old fashioned French cliche. Yes it sounds racist in our modern, politically correct world. But who does not have an elderly member of the family that says things that, to our ears, sound unbearably prejudiced? I am sure Guerlain hears young French use language that is shocking to him. Nevertheless, he should have chosen his words more carefully since he was speaking publicly.
Oppressively ridiculous political correctness offends me more than the comments of an old man speaking off the cuff....
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And today when I had to go to the gas station, I was trying to pump my gas while minding my own business--and some African American guy with saggy pants had to pull right up next to me blasting his music while pumping his gas. Literally ever other word was nigger. That's the crap that makes my blood boil. I couldn't get my windows rolled up and leave fast enough.
I don't believe in "identity politics" where some people get a pass to do whatever they want because of their ethnicity/gender/etc. It's time we hold everybody to the same standards and do away with the "soft bigotry of low expectations." And that is the real racism in the world right now.
I, too, don't get the uproar. I'll reiterate comments made prior, that it is fine to get offended, but we live in a society that unfortunately is ALWAYS seeking out ways to be offended. There are more lawsuits and special-interest groups than I could possibly count, and quite frankly THAT'S disturbing. He's an older man, his thoughts and what he says are a reflection upon his upbringing, and a simple slip of the tongue is no reason to boycott, sue or banish. He made a mistake, he apologized and now we forget and move on, no beheading necessary. And for those that feel that they would never possibly be in the same situation that Mr. Guerlain are in when they reach old age, you're being incredibly naive. Fifty years from now, there are bound to be different social norms than there are today, and to act as if those customs that were instilled while growing up will disappear naturally along with changing societal values is a misguided pipe dream.
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Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 18th October 2010 at 02:27 PM.
France did though. It also colonised most of west, central and north africa, building its wealth by exploiting the hard work of the people who lived there. In short, it's offensive. Of course, the way to deal with a public relations misstep of a major company is a boycott.Originally Posted by archelon
Not every country had slavery and its not considered a bad word for them.
By all accounts Guerlain's a very charming man, he has apologised and must be forgiven. (charm can hide people's true nature but God can be the judge of that). But by all means boycott LVMH to send a clear message about racism. It is after all the world's largest, richest, most european luxury goods company, all it cares about is money. For it to really understand that racism is wrong, it might need to see a dent in sales. Down with the capitalism.
Last edited by pawful; 18th October 2010 at 04:54 AM. Reason: insert quote to make sense of it
If being shocked and horrified by racism and furthermore moved to action can be qualified as "oppressively-ridiculous political correctness", then Abraham Lincoln was the most asinine, ridiculous PC oppressor in history.
As to the sort-of turn-of-the-century wave of colonial French exoticism, which "exalted" the 'sensuality' of Josephine Baker and other African-descended entertainers, being evolved, egalitarian, or laudable, I'm inclined to disagree.
Rogalal, I could not have put it better. Thanks for your comments.
Last edited by Hillaire; 18th October 2010 at 06:26 AM.
It's sad. I can't say I'm outraged by this haughty old man's public gaffe in the same way that slavery in Mauretania or labor conditions in China co-sponsored by the West's shoddy consumerism outrage me. But you'd wish that a man like Guerlain, capable of such refinement and sensibility in his artful line of work, so well-travelled and cosmopolitan, would simply not be capable of harboring a worn-out racist cliché of this sort. Such a callous remark from such a cultivated mind serves as a sorrowful illustration of how segregated and selective civility may be.
I found an update here: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/eu...n.slur/?hpt=T2
Apparently, he issued an apology that French anti-racism group SOS-Racisme found to be inadequate. They are taking legal action and potentially Guerlain could be issued a fine, should it appear before a magistrate. I wonder how large of a fine he could receive?
Beyond the question of whether such speech is ethical or appropriate (which most of us think it is not), sometimes we in the USA forget that such speech is not universally protected.
I think, in true honesty, that Jean-Paul Guerlain may be suffering from senility.
An old French white male makes racist comments? Incredible.
Yes it should be handled appropriately by LVMH and all that, but if anyone here is acting surprised by JP's comments, I dare say they are naive.
This kind of behaviour is just statistically less surprising for someone like JPG who grew up in colonial France in a rich industrial family.
Remember that French still has colonies, even though they call it more lightly "DOM-TOM".
It's like saying the Tea Party people are narrow-minded. A prejudiced opinion, for sure, but an intellectual shortcut with a kernel of truth.
Being a black man, I was very offended by this, if its true, I wont be buying from this house again....
certainly not excusable, but do consider that at least something was lost in translation.
don't take offense to his usage of the N-word, since I think in French he may have just meant black man. Take offense that he said he worked like a black person.
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Because of the word he used? What he said isn't negative towards black people, I think he just meant to say that he worked very hard..
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I actually dont care in what context he used it in, it should not have been used.
It is pretty outrageous, imo. But he's an old man, old people tend to say things that are more indicative of attitudes of decades past. If it helps, I don't think he's very involved with the company anymore.