Emporio Armani drops Zhang Ziyi endorsement?

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As the "fake donation gate" scandal involving Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi worsens, international brand Emporio Armani cancels its endorsement deal with Zhang, the Chongqing Economic Times reports Friday citing an unnamed source with one Hong Kong media.

Zhang Ziyi, once appointed an Emporio Armani ambassador, the first Chinese woman to get this honor, was featured prominently in the brand's promotion in China for Spring/Summer 2009 and helped present its ready-to-wear collections, accessories and eyewear.

However, giant posters featuring Zhang Ziyi speaking for the brand have been removed from chain stores in some cities, including Chongqing where the newspaper is based, said the report.

As learned from the brand's publicist, the endorsement contract with Zhang Ziyi already expired. They denied that the recent bad press on Zhang was the reason Emporio Arman ended the contract. According to the Hong Kong media, the publicist says that the brand already finished its campaign of products six months ago and has no plan to invite any other female to endorse this year's women's wear.

Zhang Ziyi has been dogged by gossip since January, in the aftermath of the "fake donation gate" scandal. Although the actress met the quake donation shortfall with 160,000 yuan of her own money to reach the 1 million yuan target she promised victims of Sichuan earthquake in early February, people keep questioning her about the whereabouts of a large amount of money she reportedly raised from charitable events for the earthquake relief held overseas in France and New York in 2008.

On March 1st, an open letter jointly written by netizens spread like wildfire on the internet, demanded Zhang explain the fund raised by her foreign friends in several fund-raising activities.

It was confirmed in late February that Zhang Ziyi exited "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," which she was originally set to star and co-produce, to join the cast of Wong Kar-Wai's "The Grand Master."

To date, the actress keeps silent about rumors surrounding her professional life, which only sparks more curiosity about this popular film star.

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