Cancel culture in China is no joke that even A-list actors can disappear from the spotlight. While some manage to comeback, others simply have their faces replaced. However, it seems another drama whose lead actor was in a scandal over a year ago has managed to air.
Different Princess 花青歌 is a historical drama that follows a female novelist who steps into the very universe she penned, only to fall for its villain. When filming began in 2021, Song Yiren took the lead alongside C-pop idol Ding Zeren (丁泽仁) from boy band NEXT in his first leading man role. Zhu Rongjun and Kris Sun Zujun were introduced as second leads. However, the drama took an unexpected turn off-screen. The young performer who’s an artist under Yuehua Entertainment found himself in the center of a controversy in August 2022. A fan expose shook the internet, revealing alleged misdeeds, thrusting him into the unrelenting scrutiny of China’s cancel culture.
Back then, Ding Zeren’s career came to a sudden halt. Nonetheless, it looks like the 24-year-old celeb is determined to continue his path in showbiz. He even graced the stage at the Yuehua concert in 2023. Different Princess also managed to air this month with him as the lead, albeit with a slight change in billing order. The credits now list Song Yiren, Kris Sun Zujun as leads before Ding Zeren. While he appears in the drama and the group poster, signs of controversy still linger. His solo poster is noticeably missing from promos. There’s also no mention of his name. This is not unlike what happened to Zhou Junwei (周峻纬) in Story of Kunning Palace and Chu Zijun (储子竣) in My Journey to You whose dramas managed to air with them in it despite their controversies.
UPDATE: Midway through airing, Ding Zeren’s solo posters were finally released as part of the show’s promos.