Is Eric Tsang China’s Harvey Weinstein?
The groundswell of sexual harassment allegations made by the “silence breakers,” the Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017, recently gripped Hong Kong. Eric Tsang, a 64-year-old celebrity with huge influence in Hong Kong entertainment, recently found himself in a similar predicament as Harvey Weinstein.
At the center of the furor is a video interview first published in 2013 where actress Yammie Lam claimed she was raped by two movie moguls about 20 or 30 years ago. The names of the alleged perpetrators were erased during the video’s first airing, but earlier this month, an uncensored version of it surfaced. Tsang was mentioned in the reporter’s questions, which were apparently confirmed by Lam, as one of the rapists.
In response to the accusation and mounting public outcry, Tsang held a press conference on January 17, where he vehemently denied the accusation. The authenticity of the video has been doubted by some who pointed out that Lam never said specifically in the video that Tsang raped her, the names of the perpetrators being all mentioned by the reporter.
Lam has been struggling with mental problems since the mid-90s, which some claimed stemmed from her rape ordeal, but Lam sounded lucid enough in the video in question.
Crazy talk or not, Lam’s alleged rape has whipped up quite a storm among social media users in China, many of whom believe she was telling the truth because “a woman cannot lie about being raped,” and lament in superficial sympathy about how a gorgeous girl with a promising future was reduced to mental instability by an ugly short man.
What do looks have to do with rape?
The ready acceptance of the narrative from a woman and dismissal of the accused man’s denial betrays a bias that only women tell the truth. Shouldn’t equal credence and skepticism be granted to both sides of the story until the truth is out? What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Allegations are not verdicts. It’s true many a powerful male have been proven guilty of taking advantage of women. Those shameless men should be condemned in the strongest terms possible and be duly punished for their repulsive indecencies. The fact that this harrowing epidemic of sexual harassment must be stopped now shouldn’t automatically validate any and all claims brought forward by women against men in high places. In other words, women can play the sexual scandal card. A case in point is Jamie Philips, a woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican US Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager. Jumping to the conclusion that a man must be guilty because a woman said so is from the springboard that women are weak and tend to be exploited. Real gender equality means no genderbased presumptions and viewing both genders in absolutely equal terms. To believe a woman’s claim of sexual assault simply because it is made by a woman is a subtle form of sexism. I’m all for the #MeToo movement, but sometimes we need to take a step back from the indignation and listen to what sense has to say. Is Tsang guilty as charged? As of now, your guess is as good as mine.