The Bachelor Australia’s Nick “the Honey Badger” Cummins has been heavily criticised for appearing in a Hong Kong tourism ad campaign targeted at Australian travellers.
The former Wallaby player is featured in three online commercials for the Hong Kong Tourism Board that will run from October 5 to November 28.
In the one-minute videos, the Honey Badger — who regularly plays for the Hong Kong Sevens — is seen exploring Hong Kong’s recognisable tourist attractions, trying out cuisines and high-fiving with happy-looking locals.
“Hong Kong is one of my all-time favourite cities in the world,” he said in a statement. “The people, the culture, the hustle, the bustle – you just can’t beat it.”
Despite Nick’s enthusiasm for travel following the reopening of international borders after COVID, the campaign has been criticised for not accurately reflecting the city’s ongoing politically-driven circumstances.
Since 2020, the city has been the backdrop for countless pro-democracy protests. It comes as the local governments continue to enforce widely condemned national security laws.
These laws have been internationally criticised for having several human rights violations.
“Australia remains deeply concerned by the continuing erosion of Hong Kong’s rights, freedoms and autonomy, two years since the imposition of the National Security Law,” Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in June.
Nick Cummins Receives Strong Backlash for Supporting the Government-Led Tourism Campaign
Former news editor Jane Poon told the Sydney Morning Herald that “the people of the city are actually struggling because of what the government is doing.”
“What he is doing is endorsing a government that is violating human rights,” she said.
Exiled legislator Ted Hui, who was exiled during the city’s crackdown on protestors, also shared his disappointment in seeing “anyone being a part of Beijing’s or the Hong Kong regime’s propaganda”.
However, he believed that Nick likely only had good intentions “as an athlete, not a politician”.
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