ARTS / TV
Chinese writer draws backlash, places TV adaptation in jeopardy after posting controversial comments about women
Published: Jan 10, 2021 06:46 PM

Screenshot from Sina Weibo


 
A Chinese web author has become the target of a backlash from netizens on Saturday after posting some controversial comments about feminism on social media. The backlash has also caused some trouble for a TV adaptation of the author’s work. 

Fennudexiangjiao, author of the popular novel My Heroic Husband, which is being adapted for TV – became the target of internet ire after he involved himself in a discussion about sexual harassment. 

Earlier on January 3, another web author, Qiyingjun, posted on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo that she suffered “verbal sexual harassment” from “some male authors” at a meeting.

Fennudexiangjiao replied to Qiyingjun’s post saying she should reveal the names of the authors to avoid all male web authors becoming the target of condemnation. Other male authors also jumped in on the conversation, doubting the veracity of Qiyingjun’s statement.

Qiyingjun responded saying she did not wish to reveal the names as the authors were famous and she feared a backlash. 

The discussion began trending as more netizens began taking part. 

Qiyingjun later issued a public apology on Wednesday saying that she did not know that her post would create such a big wave on social media, which in turn caused several potential business projects to be canceled. She also said she donated 30,000 yuan ($4,633) to show that she was not trying to use the event to promote herself. 

As the online discussion became more heated, many Chinese netizens showed sympathy for Qiyingjun saying “as a woman, she has the right to speak” while others posted snapshots showing that they purchased some of her works in support. 

Some previous comments made by Fennudexiangjiao were also dug up by netizens and quickly caused controversy. While promoting his novel My Heroic Husband, he told media that the novel was mainly targeted at male readers and that “the novel does not need female readers at all.” This latter statement became a hot topic of discussion among Chinese netizens, many of whom began calling for a boycott of his work – a boycott that has now expanded to the TV adaption of My Heroic Husband.

The drama My Heroic Husband, scheduled to be released in 2021, tells the story about a man who lives with his parents-in-law and helps his wife with her business, and eventually becomes the richest man in the area. 

Some netizens accused Fennudexiangjiao of getting involved in the online discussion just to promote the new drama. 

Fennudexiangjiao on Thursday wrote a long post on Sina Weibo saying he was now “a victim of cyber violence.” He denied the accusations that he was trying to promote the drama and claim that he would no longer use Sina Weibo.

The hashtag for his post had earned 230 million views on Sina Weibo as of Sunday.

Xu Xinming, a Beijing-based lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights, told the Global Times on Sunday that while the show’s producers will not be able to pursue a legal case against Fennudexiangjiao for causing a backlash against the show, his comments still indicate a moral deficiency that caused negative social impact. 

“As a public figure, writers need to consciously assume certain social responsibilities, and express rational and objective speech,” said Xu.

Peng Xiaohui, vicechairman of the China Sexology Association, echoed Xu’s view that authors as public figures need to be aware of gender equality instead of only emphasizing one side. 

“Sometimes, a public apology is an effective way to quell public opinion,” said Peng. 
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