Photo: Screenshot by Douban
Chinese star Zhang Han has become embroiled in controversy following the recently aired drama “Gentlemen of East 8th” due to his inappropriate touching of the female character during their interactions.
Zhang was also criticized for pulling the actress’ underwear in a previous episode. In the last episode, Zhang’s character touched and squeezed a female character’s breasts.
In the show’s final episode, Zhang and actress Wang Xiaochen sit at the table, and Zhang takes Wang to sit on her lap, during which her right hand rises from Wang’s waist to her chest.
The drama has also been accused of being disrespectful to women and having very negative innuendo in many of its lines. For example, the character played by Zhang once said to a female character, “My mother has told me since I was a child that thin women are beautiful and fat women are good to use.”
These episodes reveal flirtations and the male gaze on women that make people uncomfortable, people wrote on social networks.
Zhang is the drama’s producer, screenwriter, and lead actor. He once told the media that it was a tribute to his youth that he made his dreams come true until he was 40 and claimed he had been polishing the drama for a decade.
“I think these actions have reached the level of sexual harassment,” wrote a netizen on Chinese Twitter-like social platform Sina Weibo. “It’s more like Zhang is sexually harassing the actress in the name of filming.”
The drama has now dropped to a score of 2.2 on Chinese film rating platform Douban. The lowest possible score for a film or TV production on the platform is 2.0.
“It’s ridiculous that such a production can be shown on TV. It disrespects the public,” wrote one viewer in Douban’s comments section.
“We need dramas with undistorted values,” another viewer wrote.
Contrary to the strong public opposition this has generated, there have been a number of excellent Chinese soap operas in recent years, such as “The Age of Awakening”, “Remembrance Of Things Past”, and “Reset”.
Among these television dramas loved by viewers, various kinds of dramas are involved, which fully reflects that as long as the plot is true and grounded, the creation is elaborate and sincere, close to the hearts and lives of ordinary people, and values are standing, regardless of the subject, a drama can be recognized and praised by viewers, observers noted.
But the tidal wave of viewer reviews in just two weeks proves that films and TV shows with distorted values and no respect for women are unlikely to gain recognition in today’s China. they said.