Mazda, which reportedly has the largest endorsement deal with a foreigner in China, got Michael Phelps to record a YouTube apology to his "Chinese friends."
The 52-second video has been posted on several Web sites in China, and one major Chinese newspaper said the video had been sent directly from the Japanese auto company Mazda, which last month signed Phelps to an endorsement deal believed to be worth more than a million dollars. Phelps was signed to promote Mazda cars in China after his record-breaking eight-gold-medal performance at the Beijing Olympics last summer.
Mazda apparently decided an apology to the Chinese would suffice. The company issued a statement saying it would continue its sponsorship of Phelps. “His expression of remorse and his determination to make amends, and especially his video apology and expression of thanks to the Chinese people, give us confidence that Phelps can make a healthy return to the pool and have even more brilliant achievements,” the statement said.
Mazda joins other sponsors of Phelps, like Visa, Omega and Speedo, that have decided to stick with him. Phelps’s deal with Mazda is said to be the most lucrative sponsorship deal for a foreigner in China.
For more on America’s addiction to "fake outrage" I recommend David Sirota’s syndicated column today.