However popular TVB’s Barrack O’Karma is, the network caught a lot of flak recently for using “brownface” in an episode of its sequel Barrack O’Karma 1968 金宵大廈2. Played by Canadian-born Hong Kong actress Franchesca Wong, a now deleted Instagram post from colleague Lam King Ching saw the actress putting on makeup to darken her skin whilst laughingly attempting a Filipino accent. “I am transforming to another person, to Louisa… I am sun tanning right now sir”, she said.
Whilst Franchesca’s portrayal has received praise from viewers and local media, it’s the way minorities are often depicted in Hong Kong media that’s sparking a lot of criticism. There’s also plenty of uproar over her casting for the role. Folks have pointed out the production could’ve just put more effort into casting an actress with Filipino heritage instead of resorting to darkening her skin to portray a person of a different ethnicity.
TVB Pulls the Episode
Following the barrage of criticism, TVB pulled the plug on the episode after the issue started gaining traction online. In a recent statement, the network said “The seventh episode of “Barrack O’Karma 2”, which aired on April 12, tells the story of the plot between domestic helpers and employers, and is a creative-based drama. In the series, actress Franchesca Wong plays domestic helper Louisa. She has successfully portrayed this role with her professional and stellar acting skills. TVB has always been committed to providing audiences with a high-quality entertainment experience. The station emphasises that is has no intention to express disrespect or discrimination against any nationality in any program. We apologise to anyone affected by this.”