Richard Gere just can’t catch a break in Asia these days. First it was the Shilpa Shetty kiss heard round the world, which led to him being threatened with lawsuits for public indecency. Then it was his outspoken remarks about the upcoming Olympics, and how the opening ceremonies should be banned due to the Chinese government’s treatment of Tibet. Both of which, yes, were either intentionally or unintentionally bound to push some buttons. But now an ad that Gere filmed for Fiat’s Lancia Delta sedan is causing an uproar. The reason? Towards the end Gere plays in the snow with some pint-sized Buddhist monks.
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Seriously? The Chinese are that paranoid that an ad with no spoken words and no overtly political message can be interpreted as inflamatory? Apparently, yes. So much so that the Italian auto maker issued a public apology, saying it feels bad for “misinterpretations of its well-established position of neutrality.” Which, let’s face it, is like saying, ‘I’m sorry you blew things out of proportion,’