HomePoliticsAirline Takes Down Billboard that Offended Members of Vietnamese American Community

Airline Takes Down Billboard that Offended Members of Vietnamese American Community

All-Nippon Airways has taken down a billboard advertisement that promoted flights from San Jose to “Ho Chi Minh City” after two Vietnamese Americans criticized the advertisement.

Lan Diep and Tam Nguyen are San Jose’s two Vietnamese councilmembers who pointed to All-Nippon Airways that the billboard, located at Tully and Monterey Roads, was an affront to the Vietnamese American community. San Jose is home to a thriving Vietnamese and Asian American community with more than 100,000 Vietnamese residents.

Mercury News reports that Diep sent a complaint letter to ANA Sales Director Hiro Yamada “In Vietnamese, this advertisement promises a ‘smooth flight from San Jose to Saigon.’ However the English portion of the billboard offends the Vietnamese American customer base you are targeting by prominently displaying the name Ho Chi Minh.”

In the letter, Diep acknowledged that “Ho Chi Minh City” was the official name of the destination city that was in the airline’s route. But the name’s prominent display was “an affront to the Vietnamese refugee community, who were victims and political prisoners of the Vietnamese Communist Party that Ho Chi Minh Founded.” Ding further noted that “to any freedom-loving Vietnamese person, Ho Chi Minh City will forever be known as Saigon, despite the city being renamed after the war.”

Diep asked that the billboard and any future advertising of the route, including advertisements directed at San Jose, be changed with this in mind.

After the airlines agreed to take down the billboard, Diep thanked it for its sensitivity and referred to it as “a model of how responsive corporations can be.”

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