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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.