Sharon Vonne Stone is an American actress, producer, and former fashion model. She came to international attention for her performance in the 1992 film Basic Instinct, however apart from a supporting role in the 1995 film Casino, she has yet to star in a commercially successful film since then.
Stone sparked criticism for her comments made in an exchange on the red carpet with Hong Kong's "Cable Entertainment News" during the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 25, 2008. When asked about the 2008 Sichuan earthquake she remarked:
- "Well you know it was very interesting because at first, you know, I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else. And so I have been very concerned about how to think and what to do about that because I don’t like that. And I had been this, you know, concerned about, oh how should we deal with the Olympics because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine. And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that Karma? When you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?"
Ironically, the epicenter of the earthquake, Wenchuan County, is located in Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, where ethnic Tibetans comprise over half of the population.
After her comments, one of China's biggest cinema chains released statements stating its company would not show her films in its theaters. The founder of the UME Cineplex chain and the chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, Ng See-Yuen called Stone's comments "inappropriate" and said the UME Cineplex chain would not be releasing her films in the future. Christian Dior advertisements featuring Stone's image were also dropped from all ads in China amidst the public uproar. Stone was also struck from the 2008 Shanghai International Film Festival guest list, with the event's organizers considering a permanent ban for the actress. The Dalai Lama reportedly has distanced himself from Stone.