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TV committee requests ban on comedian Guo Degang

2013-12-16 12:44 China.org.cn Web Editor: Wang Fan
Comedian Guo Degang

Comedian Guo Degang

A TV committee on Sunday called on some 400 TV stations to ban controversial cross-talk comedian Guo Degang, who has alleged insulted the former head of Beijing Television Station (BTV).

As representatives of television networks gathered on Sunday at an awards ceremony, the Television Arts Working Committee of the China Radio and Television Association issued a statement condemning Guo, stating he had insulted former head of BTV Wang Xiaodong, who died from liver cancer at the age of 51 on November 19.

The statement was read out loud during the ceremony and asked fellow TV stations to join in the boycott as well as demanding Guo apologize to BTV, the deceased Wang and his family.

According to the statement, Guo posted a limerick on his Sina Weibo blog on November 20, one day after Wang had died, saying this was "karma" and showing the Chinese character for "happiness". The post attracted much criticism and was soon deleted.

Guo, 40, has had a long-standing feud with BTV since 2010. In the past, BTV had been very supportive of the comedian and his studio for many years. Yet after Guo became a megastar in China, he was no longer satisfied with BTV's fees and found himself in conflicts with the station's senior executives. In 2010, Guo's two performances for BTV's Spring Festival Gala were replaced.

Later on, BTV reporter Zhou Wenfu investigated whether Guo's Beijing villa had been illegally extended. One of Guo's protégés was even accused of assaulting the reporter. Guo later insulted BTV during one of his television appearances, but denied the assault allegations. The incident led to BTV's ban on Guo.

"We, as the public, have the right to no longer pay attention to him and we have the right to revoke his title. Don't let Mr. Wang Xiaodong's unfortunate sufferings happen to thousands of TV media workers again," the statement read yesterday, condemning Guo's behavior as disrespecting life, disregarding humanity and subverting public morals.

According to other reports, the statement comes after BTV sent out a complaint to the committee on December 2.

Before the TV committee's statement, Guo posted a rather vague blog on December 13, reading, "Continue collecting evidence and preparing for everything. You don't let me die well, I will also not let you live well!" The blog was soon deleted. On December 14, Guo posted yet another unclear blog, "How many people can live for a hundred years; why is it necessary to be contentious? Enjoy life and work and look forward. From this day on, I will not curse anybody and I apologize to anyone insulted by me."

After the committee's statement, Guo never again updated his blog or mentioned anything via any other channels, while at the same time no other TV networks have joined the BTV ranks in the boycott. Nevertheless, one TV industry veteran said the industry has in fact come to the tacit agreement that Guo will no longer be invited to appear on any TV shows in the future.

According to an online poll on Sina.com on Sunday, including more than 25,000 respondents, 53.6 percent of participants opposed the committee's actions, saying "Objection to BTV, it should not use the authority organization to suppress an individual;" 22.2 percent said, "I don't have a clear opinion [on the matter], but I oppose the idea of turning this personal enmity into a public vendetta."

Writer and activist Wang Xiaoshan also criticized BTV and the TV committee, "BTV and whatever committee asked to ban Guo Degang; are you serious about your moral integrity? Guo has a bad mouth and mocked your deceased leader, but you can fight back in your own shows. You can ask him to apologize and you can even file a lawsuit. But you have no reason to ban him."

As of this moment, it is not yet known if Guo's appearance at the annual China Central Television (CCTV) Spring Festival Gala, which will fall on the eve of lunar new year (January 30, 2014), is in jeopardy, given the fact that CCTV is a member of the TV committee. The 2014 gala will be directed by famous film director Feng Xiaogang, who has been supportive of Guo.

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