Vietnamese movie star Ly Nha Ky has stirred a debate after a photo of her was found on one of the billboards advertising Vietnam’s tourism in Cannes.
Ky runs a company that sponsors Vietnam’s promotional campaign at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, though Vietnamese authorities said they had not been informed of the fact that her photo would appear on any of the billboards.
Last week, the Vietnam Cinema Department and the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism jointly held a press meeting announcing their cooperation to promote the city’s tourism and Vietnam’s film industry at the 70th Cannes Film Festival, which runs from May 17 to 28 in Cannes, France.
According to the organizers, promotional activities would include hanging three large billboards outside the Majestic Barrière Hotel, which normally accommodates hundreds of Hollywood directors and actors during the fest.
One billboard would feature Son Doong Cave in central Vietnam, one of the settings for the 2017 Hollywood blockbuster ‘Kong: Skull Island’, while the other two would promote tourism in the southern Vietnamese metropolis, the organizers said.
However, when Vietnamese stars and filmmakers landed in Cannes to attend the festival, they were surprised to see a photo of Ky appearing on one of the billboards with the caption ‘Ly Nha Ky – The New Voice of Vietnam’.
At 8:30 pm on Wednesday (3:30 pm France time), the billboard had been replaced with a new one where Ky’s photo remained the same while the caption had been changed to ‘Ly Nha Ky – The New Voice’.
Neither of the billboard designs that feature Ky had been introduced at the press meeting last week.
According to a press release by the Vietnam Cinema Department on Tuesday, the billboards are sponsored by LYNK, a trade investment and construction service firm owned by Ky.
Neither the Vietnam Cinema Department nor the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism was aware of Ky’s appearance on the billboards.
Responding to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper’s request for comment on Wednesday evening, Ky said the promotion of Vietnam’s tourism “had nothing to do” with her photo, which she said was on a separate billboard.
“Cannes is a grand event with many promotional activities,” Ky told Tuoi Tre. “I will say this again. The photo on my billboard is not a part of Vietnam’s promotional campaign.”
Meanwhile, Ky’s PR crew has also released a set of photos of Ky posing in front of the billboards, where she blocks the photo caption or the billboard featuring her photo is completely out of vision.
Ly Nha Ky, 35, was a movie and TV star prior to being appointed ambassador for Vietnam’s tourism in the 2011-12 tenure. Ky is also a successful businesswomen outside of her career as an actress.