Hong Kong Tv sequence sparks ‘brownface’ controversy soon after actor darkens pores and skin

Prepared by Oscar Holland, CNN

Contributors Lizzy Yee

A Hong Kong Television set collection has sparked controversy about the use of “brownface” right after one particular of its actors darkened her pores and skin with makeup to play a Filipina domestic worker.

In a movie that was broadly shared on line, actor Franchesca Wong is observed applying makeup with a brush when saying she was “sunshine-tanning” and “reworking into an additional particular person” for her job in broadcaster TVB’s supernatural drama “Barrack O’Karma 1968.”

In the series’ seventh episode, which aired Tuesday, she plays a domestic helper hired by a pair who suspect her of training voodoo. In addition to accusing the actor of “brownface” and adopting a Filipino accent for her scenes, some viewers took situation with the show’s casting of a Hong Kong actor around a Filipina a person and reinforcing negative stereotypes.

A advertising still from “Barrack O’Karma 1968.” Credit rating: TVB

Composing on Facebook, the Philippines’ Consul Basic in Hong Kong, Raly Tejada, described the display as “downright ignorant, insensitive and totally disgusting.”

“It cannot be denied that the portrayal of the Filipino helper and use of brown experience reinforces detrimental stereotypes that characterize the ‘Ban Mui,'” he included, referring to an offensive Cantonese slang phrase for younger Filipina females.

Although ethnic minorities account for just 4% of Hong Kong’s inhabitants, the metropolis is home to an approximated 200,000 Filipino domestic employees, quite a few of whom encounter discrimination, weak operating disorders and major troubles getting residency rights. A 2019 study of a lot more than 5,000 domestic workers in Hong Kong uncovered that fewer than half had been provided with a private bed room, whilst 44% reported working a lot more than 16 hrs a working day.
Several media stores in Hong Kong have praised Wong’s general performance. Neighborhood news site HK01 wrote that the actor experienced shipped a “good functionality,” including that “she is basically a lovely lady.”

On Wednesday, the actor, who was elevated in both Canada and Hong Kong, shared a marketing picture from the present to Instagram. The post has since attracted above 1,700 remarks, several of which criticize her performance and “brownface” as getting culturally insensitive.

“How are some people today so blind to blatant racism lmao,” browse a single of the most “liked” responses. “Definitely disappointing.”

A promotional poster for the series, posted to Wong's Instragram account on Wednesday.

A advertising poster for the series, posted to Wong’s Instragram account on Wednesday. Credit rating: TVB

“You do not deserve to play a purpose of a individual who goes by way of so significantly to assistance their household abroad,” study another. “It can be a challenging job which you portrayed as a joke.”

Wong did not reply to CNN’s ask for for comment.

In a assertion to CNN, TVB defended the storyline as “purely fictitious” and “merely a remarkable tale plot based mostly on creativity.”

“Via (Wong’s) qualified carrying out tactics and refined managing of job-playing, the character Louisa was correctly portrayed,” the statement included. “TVB has always strived to deliver best-notch entertainment encounter for our viewers and we want to emphasize that it was never ever our intention to demonstrate disrespect or to discriminate any nationality in any of our programme. We would like to convey our worry to anybody who may well be influenced in this subject.”

The broadcaster did not answer to CNN’s request for comment about no matter if attempts had been built to solid a Filipina actor for the part. The episode has been taken out from TVB’s on-line system pursuing the backlash, but TVB explained it would be manufactured accessible “right after even more content amendment,” with out specifying further aspects.

In the show, Wong's character is suspected by her employers of using a voodoo doll.

In the exhibit, Wong’s character is suspected by her companies of utilizing a voodoo doll. Credit: TVB

In accordance to Manisha Wijesinghe, executive director of the Hong Kong charity Assistance for Domestic Staff, the final decision to forged a non-Filipina in the purpose was “emblematic of the erasure” confronted by Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities.

“If a small bit a lot more considered had been place into it, the episode would have been able to give a considerably more reliable voice to the character ad struggles staying portrayed,” she explained in excess of the mobile phone. “Even if it truly is not a legitimate tale or a documentary, we would hope a certain stage of authenticity. It truly is not like Hong Kong does not have these voices, so it is really a shame that chance has been misplaced.”

“There’s a tendency that (Filipinos and ethnic minorities) get pushed into these simplistic stereotypes where by they both domestic staff or are untrustworthy, and that genuinely won’t motivate open dialogue,” she extra.