The host of one of the country’s most popular political talk shows apologized yesterday after swearing and using profanity to criticize President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) during an event hosted by pro-localization groups in Tai-chung over the weekend.
Talking Show host Cheng Hung-yi (鄭弘儀) issued an apology after politicians from both parties objected to the tirade, which included references to the government’s “motherfucking” policy on Chinese students and his calling the president “gutless,” which could also be construed as “son of a bitch.”
“I said something improper on [Sunday] night and I want to — very sincerely and very deeply — express my greatest apologies. I made vulgar remarks because I ... was a bit emotional,” a tearful Cheng said on live TV.
“My improper remarks were made against the government’s policies and were not focused personally against President Ma,” he said.
Cheng said his remarks stemmed from the outrage against what he termed as the Ma administration’s lack of support for Taiwanese sovereignty and a controversial subsidy program for Chinese students in Taiwan.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials have scrambled to contain the fallout from the remarks, which Cheng made at a campaign rally for the party’s Greater Taichung mayoral candidate, Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), after critics called on the opposition chairperson to make a public apology.
Presidential Office Spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅致強) yesterday said the remarks were regrettable and set a “very bad example.”
The government had yet to decide whether to press charges against the TV host, he said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Lin Tsang-min (林滄敏) condemned Cheng for his language and KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) called on the president to consider suing Cheng for insulting him publicly.
KMT Spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said the remarks were the latest in a long line of gaffes by figures connected to the DPP and asked DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to “take responsibility and make a public apology.”
Already seeking to distance himself from Cheng’s remarks, Su Jia-chyuan hastily said in a statement yesterday that “never once during Cheng’s speech did he say that he supported me.”
“It wasn’t my event, we were both just attendees,” he said, adding that he had already left the venue when the comments were made.
While Tsai refused to comment, DPP spokesperson Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) maintained that the event, planned by the Taiwan Rescue Action Alliance, was not endorsed by the opposition party.
Cheng, who also presides over the popular News Wa Wa Wa program, hosts the Talking Show.
He moderates a roundtable of panelists who, along with call-in viewers, deliver political commentary on recent news events. The views expressed in the program are widely seen as leaning toward the pan-green camp.
Invited to speak before thousands of pro-independence supporters at the event on Sunday night, Cheng started off by comparing the president to a donkey, referring to his surname, Ma, which means “horse” in Chinese. He also claimed at one point that Ma had consistently stood up for Chinese interests against Taiwan.
Speaking to cheers from the crowd, he said: “Whenever Taiwan meets a sovereignty problem, President Ma is just like the son of a turtle [gutless].”
Additional reporting By Flora Wang
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