Taiwanese celebrities usually don’t benefit much from getting political, a lesson that Leon Dai has just learned the hard way.
Dai, an award-winning Taiwanese actor and director was supposed to star in Chinese director Zhao Wei’s new romantic comedy No Other Love. However, he was abruptly removed from the project after failing to “clarify” his political position and his participation in pro-independence movements.
The whole thing began when the Communist Youth League threatened to boycott the movie due to Dai’s “political involvements,” SCMP reports. In response, Dai posted a statement on his Weibo account reminding people to respect other’s opinions. He also clarified his stance, saying that he “is not affliated with any political party” and “refused to be dubbed as a pro-independence figure.”
However, that clearly wasn’t enough to persuade Zhao Wei and her team of investors, including Alibaba.
Yesterday, they issued a statement on Weibo, announcing their decision:
Prior to beginning filming, we did not investigate Leon Dai’s political background, which has caused outrage among the public. We asked him to clarify his stance, but were only given a vague answer.
Because of that, we have unanimously voted to remove Leon Dai as lead actor.
We are all Chinese people and advocate for one China.
In this more polite version of a Twitter battle, Dai then wrote back with a 3,000 word statement, illustrating his upbringing and background and reiterating that he is not affiliated with any political party. After expressing his gratitude to Zhao Wei for giving him the chance to work with them, he then went on tell his version of the story:
Everybody’s roots are different. My dad is originally from China, while my mom is from Taiwan. I never believed this divided me personally and I’m a proud citizen of the Republic of China. My parents raised me to be an upright Chinese person.
Ever since communication began between China and Taiwan, I sought to become acquainted with this strange yet familiar place.
During the Taiwanese election, it was never my concern which party took the majority in the legislative council. What I care about are the policies. Do they help every day citizens? Do they promote equality? Improve people’s standard of living? This is what I care about.
Please don’t blame anyone on the team — they worked hard to produce the film. I will take the utmost responsibility for what has happened.
Shooting for the movie has finished and it’s unclear who Dai’s replacement actor will be.
But hey, doesn’t Zhao Wei have enough stuff on her plate already? Like this lawsuit from last year, when a man sued her for “staring? at him.
By Sarah Lin
[Images via Focus Taiwan]