A Taiwanese YouTuber has had his contract with a Chinese agency canceled after he refused to delete videos in which he addressed President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) as “president.”
YouTuber Potter King (波特王) — who is well-known for his videos in which he hits on girls — published videos to his Facebook page and YouTube channel on Saturday after Tsai visited him at his studio.
In the video King can be seen joking with Tsai in his characteristic way and repeatedly referring to her as “president.”
Photo: Lee Hui-chou, Taipei Times
After the videos were published, Papitube — a Chinese agency that manages King’s content for Chinese video platforms — demanded that he remove the videos, while condemning him on its official Weibo account for “inappropriate language and actions.”
As King is away on vacation, his business partner, Juyang Media (聚暘互聯媒體) chief executive Mars Lee, spoke to reporters.
Lee said the video had already been removed from Chinese platforms, and while this would cost the company “millions of New Taiwan dollars ... what we stand for is democracy.”
Reiterating comments he posted earlier on Facebook, Lee said there was “no way he could accept” the demands of the company’s Chinese partner.
“When we first saw [Papitube’s demands], we were quite uncomfortable. First of all, it was their tone — they were ordering us. Secondly, I’ve never been told before that I couldn’t say the word ‘president,’” he said.
He added that he had hoped he could reach more viewers in China, but the incident showed that the situation in China was very different from Taiwan, where viewers themselves could decide whether they liked the company’s videos.
The biggest impact of the cancelation of the contract with Papitube was that the company would reach fewer viewers in China and Malaysia, he said.
“We had a million fans on Weibo after running the account for about a year and a half, but when we tried to use it on Saturday we were logged out and it wouldn’t let us log in,” he said.
Lee said he was asked by Papitube if he wanted to “give up the ‘mainland’ market,” to which he replied: “When you put it like that, I guess so.”
Commenting on the incident, Tsai said that Taiwan is a free country, and it is only a natural and normal thing to do when people address her as president.
“People in Taiwan would find it difficult to accept what happened to King. We are a free and democratic society and everyone can engage in creative arts production. It is also a natural and normal thing to do to address me as president,” Tsai said. “It would be against our cherished democratic values if we cannot talk about the president of Taiwan in an online video.”
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, on Sunday evening said that politics and economics should be separate.
“Companies in [the] Mainland should not be punishing Potter King. I believe that is wrong,” Han said in a Facebook livestream.
“I am lodging a protest against this and siding with Potter King,” he said, adding that cross-strait exchanges should be conducted in a peaceful manner.
Asked about Tsai’s and Han’s comments that they support King, Lee said: “We don’t want to focus on who supports who. What we support is democracy.”
“Democracy is easy to find in Taiwan, but in other countries it’s very much the opposite,” he said, adding that Taiwanese should protect democracy, which is something that others give up their lives fighting for.
Asked about future plans, Lee said he hoped to expand in Malaysia and the US to “allow many more people to see our content.”
Additional reporting by Shelley Shan and Ann Maxon
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