All it takes is some fuzzy camera footage taken in a cab to unravel a decades-long romance. Hearts all over broke into pieces when Hong Kong singer Andy Hui was caught red-handed cheating on superstar wife Sammi Cheng with 30-year-old TVB actress Jacqueline Wong. The pair, who directed the driver to head to Jacqueline’s home, were seen on a dashcam video holding hands, touching and kissing at the back of a taxi.
51-year-old Andy and 46-year-old Sammi’s epic romance had been dubbed as a fairy-tale. Spanning almost three decades, it was an affair that was held up as an example of enduring love. They dated from 1991 to 2004, split, reconciled in 2011 and finally got hitched in 2014.
After the jaw-dropping news broke, Andy held a press conference on the evening of April 16, sobbing as he apologised for his “mistake”. Bowing and keeping his eyes down, he apologised to Sammi, his family, Sammi’s family, friends and people who love him for doing “something that cannot be forgiven”. Explaining he had a lot to drink that night, he added that it wasn’t an excuse for doing something so wrong. “I find it hard to face myself and accept myself.” There’s no word so far on how Sammi is dealing with the bombshell, but Andy says he’ll be stepping back from his work commitments until he finds his “real and right self”.
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這是一件不可能被原諒的錯事，我不敢奢求原諒，因為我也沒有辦法可以原諒我自己。我只可以深切反省，並以最誠懇的態度，去為所有因爲這次事件而受影響的人，去說一聲，我真的做錯了，難辭其咎，對不起！ 我沒有任何籍口，犯下了如此嚴重的行為，令到我的家人、朋友及所有愛我的人徹底失望，我感到非常遺憾和歉咎。我亦願意承擔由這次事件所引起的一切後果和責任。 最後作為一個丈夫，我要向Sammi說對不起，這是一個徹頭徹尾的錯誤，我感到慚愧及痛心。請大家給予時間和空間我去學習怎樣去改過及重新去做一個人。
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The news has devastated and angered many. Let’s take a look at the other scandals that have plagued the entertainment industry this year. They’ve certainly kept fans riveted and reeling.
Text: Joy Fang, Kayce Teo, Ho Guo Xiong
Additional text: Zoe Zeng
Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were implicated in a sprawling nation-wide college admissions fraud scheme that saw 50 people charged for buying spots in the freshman classes at Yale, Stanford and other elite universities. Business leaders and other wealthy people were involved, but the world definitely took notice when Lori, known for her roles in Full House and Fuller House, and Felicity, of Desperate Housewives fame, were named in the cheating conspiracy. Also charged were college athletic coaches who were accused of accepting millions of dollars to help admit undeserving students to a wide variety of colleges.
The ringleader was William Singer, a consultant in college counselling, who orchestrated the act of bribing coaches and test monitors, falsifying exam scores, and fabricating student biographies. Felicity, 56, pled guilty to making a US$15,000 payoff so someone could tinker with her daughter’s SAT answers — an act she said her daughter was unaware of. She she had ultimately hurt and betrayed her, Felicity said in a statement, adding that she was “ashamed”. Lori, 54, on the other hand, has pled not guilty to accusations that she allegedly paid US$500,000 in bribes to facilitate her daughters’ admission to the University of Southern California. Hallmark Channel, which featured her heavily in their movies and TV shows, has cut all ties with her.
The expose outraged many, who lambasted them for not only cheating the system, but potentially cheating other hard-working students out of a chance at a college education.
It seems old habits die hard after Khloé Kardashian’s basketballer boyfriend was caught cheating again. This time, it happened too close to home — with sister Kylie Jenner’s 21-year-old best friend Jordyn Woods after reports emerged that Tristan had been “making out” and getting “lap dances” from Jordyn at a party. Kylie subsequently dumped her best friend (and made her move out of her house, might we add) in an act of support to her sister.
Jordyn, whose family has been close to Will Smith since she was a little girl, then went on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk show on Facebook to clarify her side of the story, denying allegations of sexual activities with Tristan on the night of the party. Her actions sparked a rebuttal from Khloé, who blasted Jordyn on Twitter for lying and criticising her for not calling her privately to apologise. She added: “BTW, you are the reason my family broke up!”
Netizens however, were quick to call out Khloé, stating that Jordyn shouldn’t be blamed for Tristan’s known pattern of straying (he apparently cheated on her when she was nine months pregnant) and that her actions are enabling him to repeat his reckless behaviour.
She later retracted her statement, saying “What’s been harder and more painful is being hurt by someone so close to me. Someone whom I love and treat like a little sister. But Jordyn is not to be blamed for the breakup of my family. This was Tristan’s fault.” The pair finally split in February this year and briefly came together to celebrate their daughter True’s one-year-old birthday. This is a convoluted mess but we’re sure that Khloé is better off now without him.
The world was stunned when Empire actor Jussie — real name Justin — Smollett was allegedly attacked by two masked men in the early hours of the morning on Jan 29. Jussie had reportedly been punched in the face, had an “unknown chemical substance” poured on him and a rope wrapped around his neck. The police classified the incident as a suspected racist and homophobic attack and it triggered an outpouring of support from celebrities, including from Oscar winner Viola Davis and supermodel Naomi Campbell. Then the police asked for Jussie’s phone to confirm some details but he refused, before later handing over a PDF file of his phone records — that had some bits covered up. Suspicions started to grow when there were no witnesses nor footage of the alleged incident.
Two brothers were later arrested and interviewed by the police, but not charged and not treated as suspects. They had worked as Empire extras and sometimes went to the gym with the actor. As events unfolded, a twist emerged — Jussie was classified as a suspect and charged with “disorderly conduct/filing a false police report”. He was arrested on Feb 20, and at a press conference, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says that Jussie “took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career”. He appeared in court and pled not guilty, consistently maintaining his innocence.
In a stunning reversal, city prosecutors abruptly dropped all charges against Jussie on March 26, “after reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including (Jussie’s) volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the city of Chicago”. Both Chicago’s mayor and the police department were furious with the turn of events and criticised the move. The case files have been sealed — adding to the confusion about exactly what happened and why.
Seungri’s career came to a screeching halt when the former Big Bang singer was accused in February of procuring women for his business clients, causing shockwaves around the world. Trouble was already brewing for the 28-year-old pop star, whose real name is Lee Seung-hyun, in January, when video footage emerged showing a man being assaulted by security officers at a nightclub called the Burning Sun — which was co-owned by Seungri — while purportedly attempting to help a woman who had been sexually assaulted. Burning Sun staff has been accused of drugging its female customers.
The scandal deepened in March, when it was revealed that Seungri and seven other people were part of a KakaoTalk group chat who shared spycam footage of sexual encounters with women, some of whom could have been drugged. Singer-songwriter and television personality Jung Joon-young, 30, has admitted to illicitly taping women he slept with and spreading them online through the chat group. They were reportedly videos of at least 10 women that were filmed without their consent.
Other K-pop stars who were part of the chat group include Choi Jong-hoon of FTIsland and Yong Jun-hyung of Highlight, who admitted to viewing and responding to the footage. The saga has led to Seungri, Jung, Choi and Yong announcing their departure from their respective groups as well as their retirement from showbiz.
Not just that, the scandal has also brought to light the possibility of police corruption and collusion among the authorities, with a senior South Korean police superintendent being investigated on suspicion that he helped cover up irregularities at the Burning Sun nightclub.
YG Entertainment, which launched Seungri’s career, has cut all ties with the star, who was reportedly worth 3.6 billion won (S$4.3 million) in 2016. He has also been fired from his role as chief executive of Aori Ramen, a ramen franchise he founded, and police are now pondering an arrest warrant for him for hiring prostitutes for his guests at a party in the Philippines in 2017.
Instagram account Estee Laundry (@esteelaundry) is known for calling out many brands for inaccurate pitches or marketing missteps, among other things. Even Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty (can we just say that @badgalriri has almost never put a foot wrong since the launch of her beauty brand) was not spared when it named one of its highlighters Geisha Chic – a clear case of cultural insensitivity.
More recently, Estee Laundry picked up on a Reddit thread posted by a user who claimed to be a former Sunday Riley employee. The user said the brand asked them to post reviews on Sephora’s website, and attached what appeared to be an email chain to substantiate her claims. The email even had detailed instructions on how to make it seem like the reviews were legitimate. In response to the PR storm, the brand replied: “As many of you may know, we are making an effort to bring more transparency to our clients. The simple and official answer to this Reddit post is that yes, this email was sent by a former employee to several members of our company. At one point, we did encourage people to post positive reviews at the launch of this product, consistent with their experiences. There are a lot of reasons for doing that, including the fact that competitors will often post negative reviews of products to swing opinion. It doesn’t really matter what the reasoning was. We have hundreds of thousands of reviews across platforms around the globe and it would be physically impossible for us to have posted even a fraction of these reviews. Client word-of-mouth, sharing how our products have changed their skin, has been the cornerstone of our success. In the end, our products and their results stand for themselves.”
After the non-apology, the brand deleted all the comments calling them out too. But well, it seems to be business as usual for Sunday Riley even after all this drama.
A day after Amazon head honcho Jeff Bezos and his novelist wife Mackenzie announced they were ending their 25 years of marriage after “a long period of loving exploration and trial separation”, Jeff’s affair with a pilot and former news anchor Lauren Sanchez was exposed by the National Enquirer in its issue that hit the stands on January 10. Lauren’s brother Michael Sanchez is allegedly the source behind the leaking of intimate texts and nude photos of the couple to the magazine, with reports saying he was paid for providing the material.
The bombshell exposé was apparently the result of a four-month-long investigation into the affair between Jeff, 55, and Lauren, 49. Reporters reportedly tracked the couple “across five states and 40,000 miles, tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and ‘quality time’ in hidden love nests”.
The saga took a dramatic turn when in an extraordinary move, Jeff published a blog post on Medium saying the publishers of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc. (AMI), tried to extort him by threatening to publish explicit selfies between him and Lauren. That is, unless Jeff halts his investigation into the leaks and makes a public statement disavowing the idea that the investigation was politically motivated, said his post. “Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten,” he wrote.
Jeff, who is the richest person in the world, has four children with MacKenzie. They announced in April that they have finalised their divorce agreement. MacKenzie’s remaining stake in Amazon is estimated to be worth about US$35.7 billion at current prices, making her the third-richest woman in the world, according to Forbes’ list.
South Korean actress Jang Ja Yeon committed suicide in 2009 at the height of her career. The then 29-year-old was in Boys Over Flowers and ended her life while the show was airing. She left behind notes that said she was regularly beaten and forced by her agency to have sex with a string of high-profile figures. She even included a list of the people she accused of making unwanted sexual advances to her. Her colleague, actress Yoon Ji-oh, served as a witness in the investigation, but the prosecution did not charge the list of people named as they said there was a lack of credibility. The CEO of her agency, Kim Sung-hoon, was eventually charged and arrested with fraud, fleeing (he fled to Japan a day after Ja Yeon’s death) and assault. He was sentenced to only one year in jail, two years of probation and 160 hours of community service.
Yoon has been repeatedly urging artistes who knew Ja Yeon to speak up to bring the culprits to justice. These include actresses Lee Mi Sook and Song Seon Mi who were signed to the same entertainment agency as Ja Yeon before she committed suicide.
Now, 10 years later, there are new developments. Officials are re-examining the case, because an independent panel at Korea’s Ministry of Justice recommended the move of looking into past rulings. President Moon Jae-in also said the death of the actress was one of several cases that needed to be reinvestigated as scandals sweep through the country’s entertainment industry.
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Chinese actress Fan Bingbing mysteriously vanished in July last year for three months after being accused of inking two contracts in a bid to avoid paying taxes. Termed as ‘yin-and-yang’ contracts, it involves submitting a contract to the tax authorities to declare less income, while a separate one spells out the actual payment. Bingbing’s once-active account on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter abruptly went silent and she had no public appearances. In October, Bingbing, who is China’s highest-paid movie star, suddenly reappeared with a letter of apology for her actions in the tax evasion case. She said she is sorry for having “lost self-discipline in the face of monetary benefit”. She was ordered by the authorities to pay about 884 million yuan (S$177 million) in overdue taxes and fines.
The 37-year-old first made a name for herself as a handmaiden in My Fair Princess (1998), and has since appeared in several productions, including as the mutant Blink in X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014). Bingbing’s public humiliation has stunned many in the industry, as insiders say the use of these so-called yin-yang contracts is widespread. Since the scandal broke, she has largely laid low, only posting a selfie on Feb 4, the eve of Chinese New Year, wishing her fans a happy new year.
It was the auntie of all celebrity feuds. The local entertainment scene was stunned when veteran actress Hong Hui Fang broke off her 20-over-years of friendship with Pan Lingling via a lengthy and rather curt WhatsApp message that was sent to some 50 of their mutual friends in July last year. The two actresses have apparently been experiencing some tension already, but the last straw allegedly came when Lingling reportedly made some comments about Hui Fang’s son Calvert Tay and daughter Tay Ying — with fellow actor Zheng Geping — at a birthday party. Apparently, the latter had made some comments about Tay Ying’s past relationship, which had hurt her. She also passed comments about Calvert’s rumoured relationship with actress Julie Tan and suggested he get inoculated against sexually transmitted diseases.
Julie posted an angry rant on an Instagram story that appeared to be directed at Pan, saying she lost all respect for her. She also said her mother was heartbroken by the reports. Lingling has since apologised to Julie’s mother.
In an interview, Hui Fang said she didn’t expect the spat to go public, and only wanted to tell their mutual friends about it so that “they know what is going on”. In an awkward development, the pair recently appeared on stage together for the first time since their feud — both were among the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes at this year’s Star Awards.
It seems that scandal-ridden Italian luxury house Dolce & Gabbana never learns its lessons. The brand’s biggest controversy to date has got to be the racist “chopstick” scandal that surfaced last year before their scheduled runway show in Shanghai. As part of its marketing campaign aimed at the Chinese audience, it had released an advert on Chinese social media site Weibo. In the video, an ostentatiously dressed Chinese model was struggling to eat giant-sized portions of pizza, cannoli and spaghetti — food representative of their native Italian culture — with a chopstick.
This portrayal resulted in a storm of backlash, with critics lambasting the campaign as being racist and lacking cultural sensitivity and awareness. Chinese celebrities such as actress Zhang Ziyi and Li Bingbing pulled out from attending the runway show and publicly announced that they wouldn’t be supporting the Italian label further. What made it worse however, was the way D&G reacted to the problem. Co-founder Stefano Gabbana, when confronted by fashion writer Michaela Phuong Thanh Tranova, responded with derogatory comments about China. The messages were later published by social media watchdog Diet Prada. Then, D&G suddenly reneged on the campaign, deleting it from its site and leaving an Instagram post stating that its account had been “hacked”.
In the end, the million-dollar fashion show was reportedly cancelled and no one was in attendance, showing that a lack of cultural awareness will not be tolerated, especially in this social media era.