Friday, November 23, 2012

Paris Hilton's Mecca shop sparks outrage

SAUDI ARABIA - Socialite and hotel heiress Paris Hilton has opened a new shop selling handbags and accessories.
There's just one problem: The shop is located in the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca, a key site for the world's 1.2 billion Muslims.
The 31-year-old's past indiscretions, which include drug use and a stint in prison, are well known.
So it was no surprise when her announcement on Twitter last Thursday about the opening of her store sparked outrage through social media channels, the New York Daily News reported.
Saudi citizens slammed Hilton, who once starred in a sex video which went viral, for "insulting Mecca" by opening the branch in Mecca Mall to sell bags and accessories under her name.
They attacked the celebrity entrepreneur through angry tweets, with some saying it was an "affront" to the "principal sanctuary" of Islam.
One person replied to her Twitter message, in which she announced the official opening, by saying: "R u kidding?"
Another added: "Saudi claim there are other ways to allow for pilgrims, & if religiosity is of such importance, why is @ParisHilton being allowed a store in Mecca?"

A third person questioned Hilton's style of products by saying: "That's it? That's why ppl are not buying it? Not coz she is a porn star who happens to be rich enough to have her own brand and open it in Mecca?"
But Hilton was unfazed by the criticism, tweeting a picture of the store with the message: "Loving my beautiful new store that just opened at Mecca Mall in Saudi Arabia!"
She later tweeted: "This is the 5th store in Saudi Arabia, and store number 42 in total! So proud to keep growing my brand!"
Not all comments about the opening were negative, however, reports.
One said: "Why the attack? This is a global brand found everywhere, whether it was in an Arab country or a European one."
Another added: "Simply put, those who say this is a Western invasion of the Arab world shouldn't be buying nor marketing their products.
"But to reject this concept and at the same time, buy all European and Western products, is completely hypocritical."
Hilton's business empire now carries 17 product lines, including 14 fragrances, a Beach Club Chain and a racing team, Huffington Post reported.

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