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Taiwan's showbiz asked to stop making dirty jokes about female entertainers

Cheng Chia-chun's accusation against a male co-host creates discussions about malpractice in Taiwan's traditional showbiz

Cheng Chia-chun. 

Cheng Chia-chun.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Social media influencer Cheng Chia-chun (鄭家純) has found herself in hot water after accusing a male singer of sexual harassment at a company's year-end banquet, while support for the outspoken young Internet celebrity has been pouring in from local women's groups.

Cheng gave an account in a Facebook post of her uncomfortable experience working as a host for a corporate year-end party which took place in late January. She recalled she was sexually harassed by a male singer co-host on stage and was later followed by an unexpected interaction with the male businessman who hired her, including a request for a kiss. In order to get her job done, Cheng managed not to show her emotion throughout the event, the post read.

In another post, she disclosed the name of the co-host and the nature of his action which she said obviously constituted sexual harassment, while the singer insisted on his innocence and emphasized the episode was carried out for entertainment purposes.

The incident raised mixed reactions when more and more senior entertainers took the male singer's side. Cheng even encountered victim blame from a female reporter at a news conference.

Meanwhile, some female celebrities, including a famous female writer, shared their #metoo moment, admitting that it is difficult to raise complaints in show business, where dirty jokes are usually tolerated and have been justified as "entertainment effects" to create laughter from the public.

Popular physician and writer Tsai I-chen (蔡依橙) commented that the long-lasting malpractice of making on-stage tasteless jokes in Taiwan's show business should be abandoned. "A younger generation does not want to put up with the sexist remarks and sexual harassment from their superiors as their predecessors did in show business, as today they can gain online viewership without having to rely on promotion by those in power in the business, he said.

Wang Yue-hao (王玥好), CEO of the Garden of Hope Foundation, said Cheng is courageous in fighting against sexual harassment and the incident reflects the changing values of a new generation. "People in the business should take this opportunity to reflect and stop the malpractice by showing more respect to female colleagues," she said.

Updated : 2021-04-21 09:36 GMT+08:00