Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon lays into Kiwi rich lister over 'Eurasian fluff' Nadia Lim remarks

"Absolutely disgusting" is how the Race Relations Commissioner has described derogatory comments made towards Kiwi celebrity chef Nadia Lim

It comes with Kiwi rich lister Simon Henry under continued fire for saying Lim used sensuality and cleavage to sell shares in My Food Bag - though she's far from the only woman in business facing discrimination. 

From the first moment Lim burst onto our screens, she was a winner. A golden glow has followed her many and varied successes, from Dancing with the Stars to the launch of My Food Bag.

Lim is one of the few universally well-liked Kiwi celebrities, which is perhaps why so many people were outraged by DGL Group chief executive Simon Henry's remarks to the National Business Review.

"I can tell you, and you can quote me," he said. "When you've got Nadia Lim, when you've got a little bit of Eurasian fluff in the middle of your prospectus with a blouse unbuttoned showing some cleavage, and that's what it takes to sell your scrip, then you know you're in trouble."

He went on to suggest Lim, a well-respected businesswoman and entrepreneur, was using her "sensuality" to sell the meal delivery service.

What he's referring to is a photo of Lim barbecuing in a My Food Bag booklet, prepared for the company's initial public offering last year.

The image Simon Henry referred to as "Eurasian fluff" in an interview with NBR.
The image Simon Henry referred to as "Eurasian fluff" in an interview with NBR. Photo credit: My Food Bag prospectus

"My big issue with it, it saddens me how other people, women and women of colour and other ethnic backgrounds, who might see themselves in those comments, how they would feel," Lim told AM on Thursday morning.

"People just go look at the photo and then look at his comments. It says it all, it's ridiculous," said Lim.

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon said sadly, this is not an isolated incident - and misogyny is commonplace in our workplaces.

"Females on boards, females in business, females in communities do not deserve your silly comments," he told Newshub.

"It's hard enough being Asian in Aotearoa, let alone dealing with abuse from Pākehā men."

Henry's comments aren't without consequence. KiwiSaver fund Kiwi Wealth has announced it will blacklist DGL Group from any investment. 

"He's in a great position of power and influence and he could use that to celebrate diversity and inclusion and be a great example and leader but no, he chooses not to," said Lim.

As for Henry, he didn't respond to Newshub's requests for comment. 

After DGL Group was listed on the ASX, it expressed an intention in its 2021 prospectus to comply with an ASX recommendation that it establish measurable targets for achieving gender diversity.

DGL also approved a diversity policy in order to "address and actively facilitate a more diverse and representative management and leadership structure".

According to the prospectus, the DGL policy:

  • supports the commitment of the Company and its controlled entities to an inclusive workplace that embraces and values diversity;

  • is aligned with the company’s values to foster inclusion at all levels of the organisation;

  • provides a framework for new and existing diversity-related initiatives, objectives, strategies and programs within the business of the group;

  • supports the commitment of the group to informing shareholders regarding its progress towards implementation and achievement of its diversity objectives; and

  • supports the commitment of the company to compliance with the ASX Recommendations