After doing back to back rants earlier in the month, I was ‘hoping’ to get a break from ranting about TVB for a while (after all, it truly is exhaustive to write these rants and puts me in a bad mood too…) – but unfortunately, TVB did something stupid again recently and so I can’t help but rant about it.
I’m sure most people have read the news reports about TVB ‘blacklisting’ Sheren Tang and saying that they won’t collaborate with her anymore due to her recent criticisms of Beauty At War’s scriptwriter Chow Yuk Ming and the negative impact that his ‘habit’ of on-the-fly scripts has on actors/actresses (for more information on the ‘criticisms’, read the ND Daily interview that I posted up a few days ago). TVB’s General Manager Mark Lee (yes, that dude again – those who’ve been following my posts about the TV wars probably know that I don’t think highly of him at all) claimed that other artists ‘complained’ about Sheren’s ‘negativity’ and felt that her comments ‘damaged’ the camaraderie / morale of the BAW cast/crew, so TVB decided that it was best not to collaborate with her anymore. He actually made an ‘announcement’ about this publicly too, which was very surprising.
As if that weren’t enough, TVB’s other General Manager Peter Au told the press today that they weren’t ‘boycotting’ Sheren, rather there just aren’t any further opportunities for collaboration in the coming months (yea right! Come up with a better excuse, will ya? Every time TVB ‘freezes’ someone, they always deny it and use the ‘no opportunities to collaborate’ excuse – IT’S GETTING OLD!!!!). Further to that, he said that he ‘hopes artists talk to management about their grievances instead of publicly airing them to the Media’.
I don’t know about you guys, but that last part totally ticks me off!! The way I’m interpreting Peter Au’s comment is basically that artists are not allowed to publicly criticize TVB and instead must keep all grievances internal and they’ll deal with it internally. WTH??? So does this mean TVB is trying to take away their artists’ freedom of speech and expression? WOW….seriously???
But wait, it gets better….
At their “Amazing Summer” event today, Peter Au also ‘declared’ that starting in 2014, they have told the production teams that all scripts must be 80% completed (and in the artists’ hands) prior to filming – this is a ‘procedure’ that they are planning on implementing as part of their overall ‘renovation plan’ to improve productions. HOWEVER, Mr. Au vehemently denied that this ‘change’ came about because of Sheren’s criticisms (since this was exactly the thing she had been complaining about since before BAW even started airing) – he said that this was something they [TVB] were ‘already planning on doing since the beginning of the year’.
Um, ok, now that I’ve laid it all out, here’s my reaction to Mr. Lee and Mr. Au’s ‘announcements’: What a bunch of hypocrites!! On the one hand, TVB publicly ‘denounces’ Sheren for speaking up about the poor filming practices on set (all of her criticisms are true by the way and have been publicly confirmed by various TVB people), yet on the other hand, by making the change with the scripts, they are ‘indirectly’ acknowledging that Sheren’s ‘complaints’ are actually valid (though of course, they deny that the change had anything to do with Sheren – as usual).
Honestly, does TVB expect us to believe this nonsense BS? Do they think we (the general public) are stupid or something? I mean, come on – who the hell is going to buy the argument that TVB decided to make this ‘change’ [with the scripts] because they finally ‘recognized’ that it was a problem and NOT because Sheren complained about it? This on-the-fly script thing has been going on for at least 40 years already and up until this point, TVB never made an effort to acknowledge the issue or make any changes (so are they trying to tell me that the management had ‘fallen asleep at the wheel’ for 4 decades and finally just ‘woke up’ yesterday??) – yet, the minute Sheren starts complaining about it, TVB suddenly makes this ‘sweeping’ change! Sorry, but that CAN’T be a coincidence! If I were one of the reporters present during that event, I would have drilled Mr. Au on his freakin’ contradictory comments (but of course, HK Media either don’t seem to care or are just plain dumb).
And this whole thing about other artists ‘complaining’ about Sheren’s ‘poor behavior’ (hence TVB’s action of ‘banning’ Sheren)? Well, I really want to know what these artists think about TVB’s new 80% script policy then – if they feel Sheren was ‘wrong’ in complaining and that ‘on-the-fly’ scripts are perfectly fine, then why don’t they just continue to film with those scripts then and not ‘benefit’ from the change (I dare those artists to go up to the TVB higher ups and say ‘Oh I’ll pass on the 80% script thing – just give me a scene summary and I’ll work off of that…it’s perfectly fine with me!’). In my opinion, these artists should be ‘thankful’ to Sheren for speaking out on their behalf and getting TVB to make these changes that will make their lives as actors/actresses easier – but unfortunately, instead of being grateful, these artists ‘condemn’ Sheren and practically ‘crucify’ her for it! Wow….just….w.o.w.!
Bottom line for me – if the piece about other artists complaining is true (I’m holding out hope that perhaps TVB made that part up as an ‘excuse’ to justify their actions toward Sheren), then they are definitely hypocrites as well and shame on them for doing what they did!
With all that said, the part that REALLY pisses me off is Mr. Au’s comment (which I highlighted in BOLD above) asking TVB artists not to air their grievances to the Media. Um, sorry, but isn’t this essentially restricting artists’ freedom of speech? Hmmm, so if artists aren’t allowed to publicly ‘criticize’ TVB, then does that mean they aren’t allowed to publicly ‘praise’ TVB either? Well, that certainly has to be the case otherwise it would be a contradictory statement – after all, it’s a two-way street….if you’re not allowed to criticize, then you shouldn’t be allowed to praise either (actually, I have a better idea – TVB should just tell their artists that they aren’t allowed to talk to the Media period and anyone who dares to open their mouths to say one word will be fired!)
Honestly, I would think that as one of the higher ups, Mr. Au should be aware of how TVB operates. I mean, does he honestly think that artists (Sheren for example) like to complain to the Media just for the heck of it? Many of the artists who have publicly complained about TVB (Sheren, Felix Wong, Michael Tao, etc.) had already tried talking to management internally about it first – in fact, many of them had been voicing their concerns for years, but did TVB do anything? Of course not – most of the time, management just tries to sweep things under the rug in the hopes that the issue will just ‘go away’. Come on now – the artists aren’t dumb…they know how TVB operates and they know full well that majority of the time, their ‘complaints’ will fall on deaf ears…the only way TVB management will take action is if the issue is made public and the audiences pressure them to do something (how many examples have we seen of this already in the past few years??). So for TVB to make such a ‘statement’ is really ridiculous beyond words (Why have the other artists not said anything? Do they not care that their freedom of speech is being restricted? Or are their hands tied because they have to be ‘obedient’ to the ‘almighty’ TVB or risk losing their jobs, so they’d rather just ‘suck it up’?)
Obviously I’m frustrated and beyond disappointed at TVB’s actions. I feel that they’ve definitely gone too far this time around in publicly ‘condemning’ Sheren while at the same time arrogantly ‘flaunting’ their pettiness and their ‘I have the power to do whatever the hell I want’ attitude!
I can honestly say that in the close to 40 years that my family and I have been ‘supporting’ TVB (in more ways than just watching their series), this is the first time that I truly feel ticked off to the point of wanting to cut off ties with them completely (though whether that will truly happen remains to be seen)! The unreasonable, irrational ‘monster’ that this TV station has evolved into these past couple years has really made me ashamed to even be remotely associated with them (as a long-time, once ardent fan). Yes, these words may sound harsh (and to be honest, 10 years ago, I didn’t think I’d ever write such words), but then again, TVB is no longer that once ‘beloved, respectable’ institution that I grew up with either! Sometimes I wish that all my favorite artists (yes, there are many of them still working for TVB) would just leave TVB so I can cut that company off completely! One can only wish….
Lastly, I do want to make one thing clear….despite my ‘rant’ about TVB’s pitiful, lame-arse actions, I’m almost 100% certain that Sheren really could care less about TVB ‘boycotting / banning’ her – she is a great actress with tons of opportunities and job offers in HK and Mainland, so she doesn’t need TVB at all. Yea, so ‘ban’ Sheren all you want TVB – it’s your loss anyway!!