Job offers

Celebrities face backlash over lifetime job offers

July 19, 2022

BEIJING — Chinese pop singer and actor Jackson Yee has given up a lifetime job offer from the National Theater of China after widespread public outrage and criticism over celebrity privilege.

Yee, 22, posted a lengthy message on his Sina Weibo account on Sunday explaining his reason for applying for the theater job, saying the audition and interview are above all else and he doesn’t wouldn’t take the job, hoping to make the job easier. debate.

“There are many voices saying that I accepted the job at the National Theater of China recently, and first of all, I want to apologize to those who care about me, support me or criticize me” , Yee said, adding that his late response was due to fierce debate online that went beyond his reach.

“I always want to have a positive influence on people. However, people feel offended and unhappy because of me. The National Theater of China, which I have been a fan of for a long time, was also affected, which is the last thing I want to see. After careful consideration, I have decided to quit the job, but I will continue to study and improve in acting,” said Yee, who has nearly 90 million followers on Sina Weibo.

The controversy began on July 6 when the National Theater of China released its annual admissions list for 2022.

Three young Chinese celebrities, headlined by Yee, were on the list.

As a national art institute of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the theater has a history dating back to 1941 and is known for producing and staging classic Chinese dramas, such as works adapted from Chinese literature and stories about the country’s history and achievements. .

For Yee and the other two young Chinese actors, joining the theater would mean they would receive a bianzhi, a government-funded position that can normally be extended for life and comes with a stable career with housing and school subsidies. ‘other advantages.

People wondered if the three young actors were treated differently during the application process because of their celebrity status. Competition for any job at bianzhi is always fierce, and many netizens have expressed their doubts about the transparency of the celebrity hiring process. They cited the fact that the theatre’s recruitment notice referred to “unemployed”.

“So it’s not just us ordinary people. Stable and regular employment also seems very attractive to celebrities,” said one Sina Weibo user.

“We just want fairness and transparency in the process. After all, it is difficult to find a job, especially a job at bianzhi,” said another.

The other two young and famous admitted actors, Hu Xianxu and Luo Yizhou, both in their early twenties, were also caught in the storm. All of them have starred in major movies and TV series and have large fanbases, and often appear on TV or online reality shows.

Yee is one of China’s most popular celebrities. Rising to fame as a member of boy band TFBoys as a teenage singer, he has since starred in Chinese films such as the 2019 Oscar-nominated Better Days, the 2020 family drama A Little Red Flower and the epic war The Battle at Changjin Lake in 2021.

Yee explained that he had to take three interviews and exams on April 14, April 25 and May 2, with the third one going live due to the coronavirus outbreak. He said the whole process was fair and had nothing to do with privilege.

He said applying to the National Theater of China had always been his dream since he was a student at the Central Academy of Drama, where he studied from 2018 to 2022.

“Before I graduated, I shared my dream of becoming an actor in the National Theater of China with my teachers and classmates. I want to explore and improve myself in the theater, which is the best theater company in China,” Yee said.

Hu, 22, a graduate of the same university as Yee, responded to the debate over his admission on Sina Weibo on Sunday, shortly after Yee posted his.

Hu did not give up the job, but said he would accept public supervision.

On Saturday, the National Theater of China released a statement explaining the company’s recruitment. He said the total number of applicants this year was 590, with 447 people passing the exams. Based on the candidates’ scores, 10 people were finally admitted: seven actors and actresses, a director, a sound engineer and a costume designer.

The company responded to public concerns about whether the movie stars were qualified applicants and whether they had been properly auditioned and interviewed.

“The recruitment process for new graduates is consistent with theater policy and requirements. The recruitment process is open, fair and impartial,” the company said in the statement.

It is not uncommon for celebrities to work in public institutions in China. For example, the National Theater of China announced that Chinese actress Guan Xiaotong joined the company in 2021. In 2020, Chinese actor Liu Haoran was admitted to the China Coal Mine Art Troupe, which is also an arts institution. supported by the government.