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Mediacorp apologises for portrayal of LGBTQ community in Chinese-language drama series

SINGAPORE — National broadcaster Mediacorp has apologised for causing offence and distress, and reiterated that there was “no intention to depict the LGBTQ community in a negative light” in its Chinese-language drama series, My Guardian Angels.

Mediacorp apologises for portrayal of LGBTQ community in Chinese-language drama series

The Chinese-language series My Guardian Angels depicts three women who become single mothers.

  • National broadcaster said there was “no intention to depict the LGBTQ community in a negative light” in the series, My Guardian Angels
  • In recent weeks, social media users and advocacy group Action for Aids have criticised the series’ portrayal of the LGBTQ community
  • Mediacorp also provided clarifications on the characters and two subplots which were the target of criticism

 

SINGAPORE — National broadcaster Mediacorp has apologised for causing offence and distress, and reiterated that there was “no intention to depict the LGBTQ community in a negative light” in its Chinese-language drama series, My Guardian Angels.

In a statement issued on Tuesday (July 14), Mediacorp also provided clarifications on the characters and two subplots which were criticised by social media users and advocacy group Action for Aids (AFA) in recent weeks for their portrayal of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and queer) community.

The series, which was released on Channel 8 in April, revolves around the lives of three women who became single mothers.

Mediacorp said it has received feedback from members of the public on the drama series. “We would like to assure everyone that there is no intention to disrespect or discriminate against the LGBTQ community in the drama,” its statement said.

The broadcaster clarified that one of the subplots “involved parents who were concerned that their young son may be in a relationship with another boy”.

“It depicted the overly protective mother spying on her son and eventually finding out that he was instead interested in a girl who lived nearby,” Mediacorp said. “When she expressed her disapproval with his choice, the father character responded that she should just be glad he was interested in a girl.”

Noting that the scene reflected the parents’ attitudes and reactions, Mediacorp said the storyline “aims to depict the real life struggles some parents face in communicating with their children on topics such as relationships and sexual orientation”.

The other subplot involved a paedophile who was a coach of a male basketball team. “The intention and overall message of this subplot is to encourage young people to be aware of potential dangers, and not be afraid to speak up and protect themselves,” said Mediacorp, adding that it has “hitherto depicted paedophiles preying on young girls in other dramas”.

It stressed that in both scenarios, “there was no intention to depict the LGBTQ community in a negative light”.

Said Mediacorp: “We are sorry to have caused offence and distress. We have heard your feedback and will continue to exercise vigilance and be mindful of our portrayal of characters.”

It also appealed to members of the public to refrain from making personal attacks on actors Kym Ng and Brandon Wong, who played the roles of the parents in the subplots.

“Both Kym and Brandon have received many abusive messages and comments over their roles in this drama. We would like to reiterate that they have played these roles in their professional capacities, and there was no intention on their part to cause any offence,” said Mediacorp.

The controversy started late last month, when Instagram user Heckin’ Unicorn posted about his objections to the drama series, claiming that it included a paedophile character who is gay.

Soon after, Mediacorp said on its Instagram page — as well as Channel 8’s instagram page — that there was “no intention to disrespect or discriminate against any persons or community in the drama” and it “aims to reflect scenarios and stories that are close to real life”.

On July 3, Chase Tan, who played the paedophile character, apologised to the LGBTQ community, saying that he was “deeply saddened that the role I played has caused distress in the community and I’d like to emphasise that it was never my intention”.

Three days later, LinkedIn user Andee Chua also criticised the national broadcaster over the issue. In response, Mediacorp said it was “sorry if we have offended anyone or caused any distress”, and will “continue to exercise vigilance and be more mindful in our portrayal of characters”.

On July 8, AFA issued a media statement, calling on Mediacorp to “end homophobic portrayals in its productions immediately”. Most recently, on Monday, Instagram user Heckin’ Unicorn repeated his criticism and called on Mediacorp and Channel 8 to “make a proper apology” to the LGBTQ community in Singapore, and pledge to stop creating negative portrayals of the community.

Related topics

MediaCorp My Guardian Angels LGBTQ

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