In a video widely shared online, actor Franchesca Wong is seen applying makeup with a brush as she says she “tanned” and “transformed into a different person” for her role in TVB’s supernatural drama “Barrack O’Karma.” 1968″. †
In the seventh episode of the series, which aired Tuesday, she plays a housekeeper hired by a couple who suspect her of practicing voodoo. In addition to accusing the actor of “brownface” and adopting a Filipino accent for her scenes, some viewers disagreed with casting a Hong Kong actor over a Filipino one and reinforcing negative stereotypes.
A promotional still from “Barrack O’Karma 1968.” Credit: TVB
“There’s no denying that the depiction of the Filipino helper and the use of a brown face reinforce the negative stereotypes that characterize the ‘Ban Mui,'” he added, referring to an insulting Cantonese slang term for young Filipino women. .
On Wednesday, the actor, who grew up in both Canada and Hong Kong, shared a promotional image of the show on Instagram. The post has since garnered more than 1,700 comments, many criticizing her performance and “brown face” as culturally insensitive.
“How are some people so blind to blatant racism lmao,” read one of the most “liked” comments. “Really disappointing.”
A promotional poster for the series, which was posted on Wong’s Instagram account on Wednesday. Credit: TVB
“You don’t deserve to play the part of someone who is going through so much to support his family abroad,” read another. “It’s a tough job that you portrayed as a joke.”
Wong did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
In a statement to CNN, TVB defended the storyline as “purely fictional” and “just a dramatic story plot based on creativity.”
“Through (Wong’s) professional performance techniques and refined handling of role-playing, the character Louisa was successfully portrayed,” the statement added. “TVB has always strived to provide our viewers with a first-class entertainment experience and we would like to emphasize that it was never our intention to show respect or discriminate against any nationality in any of our programs. We want to express our concern to everyone which may be influenced in this matter.”
The broadcaster did not respond to CNN’s request for comment about whether attempts have been made to cast a Filipino actor for the role. The episode has been removed from TVB’s online platform following the backlash, but TVB said it would be made available “after further content changes”, without specifying further details.
In the show, Wong’s character is suspected by her employers of using a voodoo doll. Credit: TVB
“Had a little more thought been given to it, the episode could have given a much more authentic voice to the struggles of the character ad being portrayed,” she said on the phone. “Even if it’s not a true story or a documentary, we would expect a certain level of authenticity. It’s not that Hong Kong doesn’t have those voices, so it’s a shame that opportunity was lost.”
“There’s a tendency for (Filipinos and ethnic minorities) to be pushed into these simplistic stereotypes of being either domestic workers or untrustworthy, and that really doesn’t encourage open discussion,” she added.