Director Cheung Wing-ho sorry for hitting Jenny Lau
The off-screen drama that followed after an outburst that threatened to derail the career of TVB director Cheung Wing-ho, that rallied several actors to denounce him for his temper, that forced the station to come out in his defence and for the victim, actress Jenny Lau, to deny being physically hit during the filming of their TV series has come to an end.
Cheung, infamous for his tetchy on-set behaviour, has finally said sorry to Jenny for apparently smacking her upside her head and slamming her against a wall, reducing her to tears—and it was all captured on video and uploaded on YouTube, though nobody knows by who.
Both of them went on Eileen Cha Xiu-yan's TV show The Scoop to make amends with an apology and a handshake. "I certainly have to improve my temper," Cheung confessed. "Maybe I was being too serious about work before this. I hereby apologise to everyone and hope that everything will be over soon."
Prior to the apology, TVB said that a warning letter was sent to Cheung after several A-list celebrities including Charmaine Sheh, Chapman To and Anthony Wong joined thousands of netizens to criticise the station for appearing to defend the director after the two clips were leaked to the Internet.
The pressure mounted when Cheung's alleged drug past was dug up, and stories resurfaced about how he was sacked from Asia Television Limited because of his temper tantrums in the 1990s, and how his verbal abuse drove his actresses Charmaine Sheh and Yoyo Mung to tears.
Top TVB exec Catherina Tsang, believed to a relation of Cheung's, initially tried to explain away the Jenny incident, saying that the 30something director was showing the 24-year-old starlet how to react after she failed to nail a scene involving loan sharks and amphibians.
"I don't know why this is such a big deal," she said then. "The clip only showed part of the filming. I watched the clip and he's not abusing her. … Jenny continued working after that and I don't see her suffering from the incident. If this is called abuse, no director should teach an actor how to act next time," she said.
However, top TVB star Ada Choi called Cheung's actions "ridiculous and annoying", while multi-award-winning actor Anthony Wong also lashed out at Cheung for going too far.
"It's never professional to hurt someone," Anthony said. "I don't know where he learnt this from. Emotions play a crucial role in acting. How do you expect someone to act when she's scared? Does that mean you can set fire on an actor if you're shooting a fire scene?"
Yoyo Mung spoke of her shock and urged the station to take the issue seriously, and Charmaine Sheh said she wouldn't even comment on "someone of such low moral character" while encouraging Jenny in a text message to "not to give up her dreams" because "there are still many good directors around".
Former ATV star Chapman To went one step further and swore to kill any man if they ever did that to his wife, actress Krystal Tin. "Even if he's guiding Jenny, he should be patient and use a better approach," he said. "It's his job as a director and it's not right to turn physical."
Before all these repercussions, however, both Cheung and Jenny had denied that he had hit her. Jenny, a contestant in last year's Miss Hong Kong pageant, even called her director "a nice guy" and said she was crying in the videos because she was scared of the frogs in the scene.
Published: 20th September 2012