Prada Severs Ties With Brand Ambassador Amid Alleged Surrogacy Scandal

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Samantha McDonald
·2 min read
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Prada has cut ties with a brand ambassador who recently became embroiled in an alleged surrogacy scandal.

The Italian luxury fashion house announced in a post on Weibo that it has terminated “all cooperative relations” with Chinese actress Zheng Shuang, who appeared in last week’s Chinese New Year campaign alongside Cai Xukun and Chun Xia. Her ambassadorship with the brand lasted just nine days.

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In a statement to FN, a Prada spokesperson wrote, “Following significant recent media coverage of her personal life, Prada Group has today decided to cancel its collaboration with the actress Zheng Shuang, which was announced Jan. 11, 2021.”

Yesterday, Zheng’s ex-partner, Zhang Heng, accused her of considering coercing the U.S. surrogate who carried their child to end her seven-month pregnancy in 2019 because Zheng and Zhang’s relationship ended. In a Weibo post, Zhang wrote that he has been staying in the U.S. for more than a year “because we must take care of and protect two young and innocent lives.”

According to some Chinese media outlets, there exist two birth certificates from Colorado and Nevada for the former couple’s older son, born on Dec. 19, 2019, and younger daughter, born on Jan. 4, 2020. Zheng’s name was reported to be listed on both documents, which saw more than a billion views on Weibo.

As the post circulated online, a self-described friend of Zhang shared a recording with local press in which Zheng and Zhang as well as Zheng’s parents allegedly discussed the future of their then-unborn children. Zheng was claimed to be heard saying that she was upset that an abortion couldn’t be performed since the child was already seven months old. Her father allegedly proposed giving the children up for adoption, while her mother purportedly added that they never want to see the two kids.

Today, Zheng issued a response on the China-based social media platform, stating that her personal life had been “exposed step by step with ulterior motives.” In a translation of the post, she said, “This is a very sad and private matter for me… After thinking about it for a long time, I had no choice but to respond when I didn’t want to occupy public resources.”

Reports have suggested that a court hearing for “dissolution and permanent orders,” with both Zheng and Zhang’s names on the case, is scheduled for March 22.

Some users on Weibo applauded Prada’s decision to sever its relationship with Zheng. London-based jewelry brand Lola Rose has also appeared to have deleted content involving Zheng from its official Weibo account, while a Harper’s Bazaar feature about Zheng can no longer be found on the magazine’s Weibo page.

This story has been updated with a statement from Prada.

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