Lee Hyo-ri in Teacup Storm for ‘Belittling’ Chairman Mao

August 25, 2020 13:03

Lee Hyo-ri

Lee Hyo-ri has created a massive storm in a teacup with remarks that seemed insufficiently reverential of Mao Zedong, the founding father of communist China.

On an MBC variety show last Saturday, Lee appeared as a member of a project girl band. As she and host Yoo Jae-suk were talking about her stage name, she said, “What do you think about a Chinese name? We can go global. How about Mao?”

Lee has recently made headlines when she performed on the same variety show with Yoo and singer Rain. The new girl band is her next project.

This incensed at least some viewers in Lee’s vital Chinese market, who have it dinned into them from infancy that Mao, who ruled the country with an iron fist for some three decades, is the greatest man who ever lived.

They left comments like “Are you mocking the great men of another country?” and “Learn how to respect others.” Over two days, more than 140,000 comments were posted on Lee’s Instagram account, which has 1.66 million followers.

MBC took fright. “We did not mean to refer to a particular person,” it claimed, but added bafflingly, “We have deleted the part of the episode from the video-on-demand version.” It added, “Lee has picked a different stage name.”

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