Sexual harassment and assault are not limited to Hollywood. Rumors and vague accounts of aspiring actresses being preyed upon have circulated in Asian showbiz for years. But it is highly unlikely that Asian actresses will come forward in the way that their Western counterparts have done following the explosion of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Asia’s relatively conservative attitude towards sex, the fear of consequences that could jeopardize the lives of their families as well as careers, and public judgment are reasons that stop abuse victims in the Asian entertainment business from coming forward, industry insiders say.
Candice Yu, executive secretary of Hong Kong Performing Artistes’ Guild, said that her organization has not received such complaints since she took over the position two years ago. But she does not deny such situations exist.
“People are much more reserved and conservative here in China or Asia. People are afraid of the consequences, such as losing their career,” Yu said. She said coming forward to reveal the truth about sexual assault was never easy for anyone, let alone those living in the limelight. “Many of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein referred to events that happened many years ago. But if our members seek help from us, we will definitely support them,” Yu said.
One insider who spoke on condition of anonymity said there had been instances involving men masquerading as film or music executives and making sexual advances towards aspiring actresses. “They pretend to offer these girls a movie or record deal opportunity, if these girls could ‘return favor.’ But these girls will not come forward, because they would put themselves in the spotlight, be judged by netizens, and considered as gold-diggers,” said one producer who asked not to be named.
Public sex scandals are unusual in Asia, but not unheard of. Action star Jackie Chan made news headlines in 1999 when a former Miss Asia, Elaine Ng, was…