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The Edison Chen scandal is everywhere. It’s been front-page news in Hong Kong for weeks now, and there is certainly no dearth of information on the internet. Zhongnanhai was going to stay out of the mess, but then we stumbled upon Imagethief’s excellent post and figured we’d better plug it here, and also give our own two cents.
(If you aren’t familiar with the scandal by now, where the hell have you been? You can read all the sordid and juicy details on the scandal’s Wikipedia page - thanks Imagethief, who’s clearly done his research!).
I had lunch at the ifc mall in Hong Kong last week with a woman who is heavily involved in the city’s film industry. She was deeply upset by the scandal, and spoke with a rare emotion. After all, there weren’t any pictures of her that were released, so what’s the big deal?
What seemed to affect her was that she’d spent her whole life studying film, and is now a professor at two film schools in Hong Kong. She loves the medium, she loves the storytelling, and she loves the people she’s worked with. What she doesn’t love is what the industry has become, especially in Hong Kong, where trashy, tabloid magazines can match anything Britain or the US has to offer. And for the first time, she was considering doing something else.
We still don’t know what the long-term implications of the photo scandal will be. In her view, it could ruin lives (and certainly, at the very least, reputations). So far, Bobo Chan (as of this posting) has not been found, and her wedding has been called off.
There’s no doubt the implications of this scandal are much more serious than others in America because of China’s culture. Pre-marital sex is still greatly frowned upon (ironically, Gillian Chung, a poster-girl for abtaining from sex before marriage, herself is caught up in the controversy), moreso than in the west. Whereas the Paris Hilton sex-tape controversy boosted her career, this is already hurting those involved: The credit card company Manhattan Titanium has already pulled its endorsement of Edison Chen, and he’s also been cut from the new movie Jump. Other losses are expected.
Imagethief believes that taking pictures in the first place is a bad decision, and I wholeheartedly agree. That being said, people will always take sordid pictures of themselves; there’s no stopping it. Edison Chen was simply careless with them, and now this scandal has the potential to leave lifetime scars on these girls and their careers. This is reprehensible, and Edison Chen should be Public Villain #1.
Imagethief takes a look at the potential fallout for Edison and his starlets. While a portion of his post is below, I recommend visiting his site to see it in its entirety:

The sad fact is that it’s going to be much easier on Edison than on Gillian, Cecilia, Bobo (oddly named for a girl, even in Hong Kong) and the other women. That’s because the universal double standard will unfortunately apply. Dudes who bed strings of starlets are swinging studs who will be admired by other men everywhere. Even if, inexplicably for straight guys, they have pink laptop computers. (Although it does occur to me now that I read this back that the entire episode has an air of “prove you are straight” overcompensation about it.) Edison needs only issue a public apology to the fans and affected girls and retire from the limelight for an appropriate spell of restorative contemplation before re-emerging a better man and, purely by accident you understand, using the momentum of the scandal to plug his latest project.

Unfortunately girls who allow themselves to be photographed in flagrante by their boyfriends and who are then unlucky enough to have those pictures sucked into the vortex of the Internet face a tougher path. Their public images will most likely not be enhanced, at least not in the circles that count for a mainstream career. Unless they’re Paris Hilton, who, in Imagethief’s book, is the exception that proves the rule. Remember, unless that camera was disguised as a riding crop or a tube of Astroglide, these weren’t sneak pix.

Apologies all around then, and perhaps a confession that the pictures were taken at “a difficult time” (it’s going to be funny how many of these girls were dating Edison at “a difficult time”). This can be followed by a spell in rehab, which is the modern equivalent of slinking away to join a convent without the shaven head or any of the other obnoxious religious rituals and the added bonus that it is temporary. After that we’ll see how it goes. Gillian probably survives. As for Bobo, well, it’s anyone’s guess.

Despite Edison’s carelessness, ironically it will be him who likely will suffer the least. Sadly, such is life.
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  1. orzyee says:

    I agree with you so much that there’s no doubt the implications of this scandal are much more serious than others in America because of China’s culture. But why are people more angry? Please look at the specially made video, he didn’t really mean to make an apology, what he is doing is trying to get rid of the trouble for the future when the starlets are going to sue him for money as he is careless about keeping the photo as showing off to his friends. here’s a hot debate over his video:
    Then you know why people are so angry.