Chinese stars’ lavish compensation for meals irks netizens
Published: May 25, 2021 05:58 PM
People select food at a supermarket in Pingyi County, Linyi, east China's Shandong Province, March 10, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

People select food at a supermarket in Pingyi County, Linyi, east China's Shandong Province, March 10, 2021.Photo:Xinhua

Following Youth With You 3's milk wasting scandal, another bomb dropped in the Chinese entertainment industry when it was revealed that stars are paid an average daily meal allowance of 1,500 to 2,000 yuan ($234-312) while filming variety shows. This lavish compensation has outraged many Chinese netizens, who said that "stars do not deserve to be treated better than hard-working scientists." 

The controversy came after a guest on new Chinese variety show 50km Taohuawu, which debuted on Sunday, mentioned on the show that 650 yuan was not enough to cover her daily meal budget. A clip of the guest's complaint as well as snapshots of contracts covering the standard meal allowance of stars quickly went viral on Chinese social media. 

"The daily meal allowance for many guests range from 1,500 to 2,000 yuan per person, and the allowance for stars' staff is 800 to 1,000 yuan. The most exaggerated allowance I have ever seen is 1,000 yuan for one meal," wrote one netizen. 

The hashtag "stars' meal allowance" has earned 240 million views as of Tuesday afternoon.

Although the show's official Sina Weibo account issued a statement on Monday saying that the incident was "a misunderstanding," Chinese netizens seemed to not buy the explanation as videos of the show clearly show what the guest had said. 

"What a sharp contrast! I would be very happy if I could spend 2,000 yuan per month, but this is what they spend per day," one Chinese netizen complained on Sina Weibo. 

"A great man who fed all the Chinese people [Yuan Longping] just passed away, and now these stars are showing off their extravagant dining expenditures on a show, this is too ironic," another Chinese netizen commented. 

Tan Tian, a professor at Jinan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the video from the show might "mislead young people concerning their consumption outlook," causing them to spend more than they should.

Wu Xiaolin, a lawyer from Yingke Law Firm based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday that while daily meal allowances can vary depending on region, the amount paid to stars still runs rather high. 

"Generally, in first-tier cities,along the southeast coast andin economically developed areas, the daily food allowance for public servants is between 150 and 200 yuan. The 1,500 to 2,000 yuan standard for a variety show star's daily meals is super high," he said.