HK actress embroiled in blackface controversy apologizes for ‘insensitive’ portrayal of Filipina domestic worker

An actress who caused a major controversy for darkening her skin to portray a Filipina domestic worker in a Hong Kong drama has apologized for her “insensitivities”. (Photo: Facebook/Franchesca Wong)
An actress who caused a major controversy for darkening her skin to portray a Filipina domestic worker in a Hong Kong drama has apologized for her “insensitivities”. (Photo: Facebook/Franchesca Wong)

A Hong Kong actress who caused a major controversy for darkening her skin to portray a Filipina domestic worker in a TVB drama has apologized for her “insensitivities”.

Writing on her Instagram on Wednesday, Franchesca Wong said she has taken time in the past few days to “process [her] emotions, reflect, speak to members of the community and listen to the many voices that have reached out to [her].”

“I sincerely apologize to all who have been negatively affected in any way by the 7th chapter ‘Jei Jei’ of the Barrack O’Karma 1968 drama series, and my role in it,” she said. 

“I genuinely have no intention to disrespect or racially discriminate any ethnic group, please forgive me for getting it wrong.” 

The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts graduate also said that she has learnt a lesson about how “art reflects deeply entrenched social attitudes.” 

“I am truly sorry that my insensitivities have offended and hurt. I am committed more than ever to using my acting for the good of the community,” she added. 

Some Instagram users praised her for taking responsibility for her actions. 

“Proud of you, cuz! It takes a lot of courage to take accountability/responsibility for one’s actions & apologize, even though there was never any intention to hurt anyone or even if you didn’t necessarily do anything wrong. I will always be there for you & support you,” said one user. 

“Love your response and the humility and maturity displayed. Before you work on your next character you are already working on your own character. Proud of you!❤️” said another. 

Her post was also met with comments lamenting the political correctness in Hong Kong today. 

“Friend, I’m truly sorry that you have to apologize to this ridiculously twisted world!! As I mentioned in my message to you earlier, you have done NOTHING wrong and you acted splendidly in the story…” said one user. 

While most of the comments on Wong’s apology were supportive of the actress, they come after a flurry of online outrage directed at her since last week when TVB aired the episodes of the supernatural drama in which she portrayed a foreign domestic worker with her skin darkened using make-up. 

She was also seen joking with a co-star about the caricature in a now-deleted Instagram video. 

A spokesman for the broadcaster said the TV show did not intend to discriminate against any nationality and expressed concern to anyone who might be affected, but did not issue any apologies over the matter.

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