Hollywood star Sharon Stone has apologised for suggesting China's earthquake was bad "karma" for its handling of Tibet, but Christian Dior on Thursday dropped her from its local ads amid a public uproar.
The 50-year-old US actress offered to help with relief efforts after the May 12 quake that killed nearly 70,000 people, in an effort to smooth over tensions sparked by her controversial comments at the Cannes Film Festival last week.
"My erroneous words and deeds angered and saddened the Chinese people, and I sincerely apologise for this," she said in a statement issued by Dior China and sent to AFP on Thursday.
The remarks sparked an uproar in China, where people are in no hurry to forgive her, according to a survey published on the popular web portal www.qq.com.
Of the more than 300,000 who had participated in the survey by late Thursday, 70.3 percent said they would "never forgive" Stone, while 20.5 percent did not accept her apology because "it was not sincere".
Another 8.7 percent said an apology was useless and it was necessary to observe her actions, while a mere 0.6 percent said they were satisfied by her apology.
She was asked if she had heard about the disaster that recently hit China's Sichuan Province, and her answer was:
"Of course I have. You know it was very interesting, because at first, you know, I wasn't very happy about the way the Chinese are treating Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And so I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that, because I don't like... that.
"And I've been concerned about how should we deal with the Olympics because they've not been nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine. And all this earthquake stuff happened and I thought: 'Is that karma? When you are not nice the bad things happen to you.'"
Her remarks triggered anger across the Chinese-language media and were called "inappropriate" by the founder of one of China's biggest urban cinema chains, who said his company would not show the Hollywood star's films.
Ng See-Yuen, founder of the UME Cineplex chain and the chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, said that actors should not bring personal politics to comments about a natural disaster that has left 5 million Chinese homeless.