Comedian asked to apologize for ‘immoral’ blog post
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.”