Co­me­dian asked to apol­o­gize for ‘im­moral’ blog post

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By CAO YIN

The Ra­dio and Tele­vi­sion As­so­ci­a­tion of China has con­demned a pop­u­lar co­me­dian af­ter com­ments he made online about the death of a for­mer head of tele­vi­sion sta­tion Bei­jing TV.

Guo De­gang, a top cross-talk per­former, has been em­broiled in a pub­lic feud with the sta­tion for sev­eral years.

Yet on Sun­day he was urged to apol­o­gize to BTV and the fam­ily of Wang Xiaodong over an “im­moral” mi­cro blog post that ap­peared to cel­e­brate his death.

Wang, the for­mer head of BTV, died of liver can­cer on Nov 19.

The next day, Guo posted a Chi­nese lim­er­ick on Sina Weibo — a pop­u­lar Chi­nese mi­cro blog plat­form — that many peo­ple felt was aimed at Wang. The post was ac­com­pa­nied by an im­age of the char­ac­ter shuangxi, or dou­ble hap­pi­ness, which is com­monly used for cel­e­bra­tions, such as wed­dings.

The co­me­dian deleted the con­tro­ver­sial post about four hours later, but not be­fore it sparked much dis­cus­sion among his more than 55 mil­lion fol­low­ers.

Dur­ing an award cer­e­mony on Sun­day, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s tele­vi­sion art work­ing com­mit­tee is­sued a state­ment crit­i­ciz­ing the cross-talk star, brand­ing him “dis­re­spect­ful” and lack­ing in morals.

The state­ment said the pub­lic had ev­ery right to boy­cott Guo’s live per­for­mances and pop­u­lar TV show, and even sug­gested TV sta­tions black­list celebri­ties that make such com­ments.

“We will keep an eye on the case, and we call on the in­dus­try to pro­tect its dig­nity,” the com­mit­tee added.

Guo’s most re­cent com­ment on Sina Weibo on Satur­day was a vague apol­ogy to any­one he may have of­fended.

Zhang Fan, a BTV reporter, said she did not know about the row un­til Sun­day, al­though she re­vealed the sta­tion had pre­vi­ously or­dered em­ploy­ees to post online “only sen­si­ble opin­ions” about the lim­er­ick.

“Guo has had con­flicts with the

No mat­ter what the cause of that was, he shouldn’t show his re­sent­ment to­ward a dead per­son. It’s im­moral.” ZHANG FAN REPORTER WITH THE BEI­JING TELE­VI­SION STA­TION

me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tion be­fore,” she said. “No mat­ter what the cause of that was, he shouldn’t show his re­sent­ment to­ward a dead per­son. It’s im­moral.”

The feud be­tween the co­me­dian and BTV dates back to Au­gust 2010, when a BTV reporter vis­ited Guo’s home in Bei­jing’s Dax­ing dis­trict to ver­ify re­ports the co­me­dian had il­le­gally ex­tended his prop­erty onto a pub­lic space.

The reporter was punched sev­eral times by one of Guo’s as­so­ci­ates, Li He­biao.

Li later apol­o­gized, but BTV still black­listed Guo and re­fused to broad­cast his cross-talk.

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, the sta­tion wrote to the Ra­dio and Tele­vi­sion As­so­ci­a­tion on Dec 2 to com­plain that Guo’s post was aimed at Wang and had “neg­a­tive ef­fects on so­cial mo­ral­ity”.

The as­so­ci­a­tion gave a writ­ten re­ply and a spokesman read it in front of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of al­most 400 tele­vi­sion sta­tions at Sun­day’s awards cer­e­mony.

Cheng Manli, a me­dia pro­fes­sor at Pek­ing Univer­sity, said re­spect­ing the dead “is a ba­sic re­quire­ment” but ex­plained that the as­so­ci­a­tion can­not com­pel Guo to pro­vide an apol­ogy.

“If Guo doesn’t com­ply, the as­so­ci­a­tion won’t do any­thing,” she said. “It would be bet­ter for the as­so­ci­a­tion to ne­go­ti­ate with Guo and BTV to end the con­flict.”

Tang Yu, one of Guo’s fol­low­ers on Sina Weibo, said his im­pres­sion of the co­me­dian had been af­fected by the lat­est row, but added, “I’ll still go on watch­ing his cross-talk.”

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