The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, scheduled to take place Tuesday, November 28 in Shanghai, China keeps getting stranger by the day.
Staffers for the lingerie giant are scrambling to get Monday’s show in Shanghai back on track after a string of problems obtaining visas for performers and models such as Katy Perry and Gigi Hadid — both of whom were denied — as well as press permits.
But they’ve been even more hampered by the fact that e-mails of VS show staffers and production crew are apparently being monitored by Chinese authorities.
TV and media-industry insiders desperately trying to figure out what’s going on amid the production chaos are frustrated by messages from colleagues in China saying they can’t speak frankly about the issues with the government because their communications are being watched.
Perry, who was booked to perform during the glitzy annual show, had her visa application declined because she once showed support for Taiwan — which is in an independence struggle with China — during a Beijing concert.
Former Victoria’s Secret Angel, Gigi Hadid, has been rebuffed by officials because she once drew criticism for posing insensitively with a cookie shaped like the Buddha.
Plus, fellow Angel, Adriana Lima’s visa application has been imperilled by an unknown “diplomatic issue.”
“They want to discuss what’s going on as far as replacements for those denied visas and alternative arrangements, but they have to be tight-lipped because it seems that the government is watching their e-mails,” said a source about the VS surveillance.
Media travelling to China for the event have also been thwarted by the authorities.
We’re told that many fashion bloggers have been denied visas, and TV producers have discovered that they need permits to shoot outside of the Mercedes-Benz Arena, where the show — which will, fingers-crossed, air on CBS later this month — is taking place.
As one source put it, “If you’re going to China you want to show that you’re in China!”
New York Post is reporting that the show’s organizers believe the Chinese government is spying on them. Which, of course, is probably true, given Chinese authorities’ well-known penchant for monitoring foreigners.
The Post says e-mails of VS show staffers and production crew are apparently being monitored by Chinese authorities.
The surveillance is apparently making it difficult for the show’s organizers to find replacements for the models who have been denied entry. Harry Styles has already been booked to fill in for Perry.
“They want to discuss what’s going on as far as replacements for those denied visas and alternative arrangements, but they have to be tight-lipped because it seems that the government is watching their e-mails,” said a source.
With more than a week to go before the show, we can only imagine what fresh entanglements will crop up as the date draws nearer.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.