A Television Broadcasts director has quit amid a political row over popular sitcom that some online users say is biased toward protesters.
Justin Fung Siu-kwan, who joined TVB in 2012, stepped away from Come Home Love: Lo And Behold, on Tuesday, sources said.
Fung directed the sitcom’s 993rd episode, which had a 14-second scene showing a pair of yellow plastic gloves placed on a computer screen, with one finger sticking out on the left glove.
After it aired last week, some web users said it was similar to the hand gestures flashed by anti-government protesters for the slogan “five demands, not one less.”
It is understood that Fung was forced to resign by TVB and did not receive a long-service payment or payment in lieu of notice.
”TVB told Fung that if he did not quit, they would call police, citing reasons related to the national security law,” a source said.
Some web users also vowed to boycott the show, although the episode itself was about house cleaning, with no plots that were directly related to Hong Kong’s social unrest.
When the episode was uploaded to TVB’s online platform myTV Super on Thursday last week, the scene was replaced with a shot from another angle, excluding the gloves. It is understood that the reshoot was due to the complaints.
In response to Fung’s departure, TVB said yesterday it would not comment on individual employees leaving the company.
”We are investigating the incident in which a scene from [the sitcom] was likely to be disrupted,” it said. “If someone deliberately ruined [the scene], TVB will definitely deal with [the person] seriously, as we absolutely do not accept or tolerate such incidents.”
But sources also said the glove scene did not intentionally contain protest-related messages.
An actor on the set stuck out the glove’s middle finger as a joke before shooting and others had a laugh without attaching political meaning it, the TV station was told.
After first airing in early 2017, Come Home Love: Lo And Behold is among TVB’s most popular sitcoms, with ratings as high as over 30 points.
The daily series, starring Danny Lau Dan, aired its 1,000th episode yesterday.
TVB has become a target of attacks from protesters and their supporters amid the social unrest, with some describing its reporting of the street demonstrations as pro-government.
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