As it is widely known, watching television, movies, and other entertainment shows have become a part of today’s youth’s life and many celebrities are idols of the younger generation. However, the personal lives of the celebrities are often times reported and become the city’s discussion topics. What kind of social responsibility should the celebrities bear?
Hosted by Sofree Media and Co-hosted by Caritas Family Crisis Support Center (CFCSC), “Celebrities! Can You Bear the Social Responsibilities?” seminar was held on April 15 in Hong Kong. Sofree Media Chairman Claudia Lau Sin-Yi and various others, including actress Sheren Tang, singer Deep Ng, former Universal Music Group Hong Kong district executive director Chan Hsu-Bo, radio host Wen Jiehua, and psychiatric counselor Dorothy Wong, gave their opinions and discussed from various perspectives of different roles.
First, Sofree Media announced the result of a questionnaire research conducted by CFCSC, which interviewed 301 middle-school students on their views of the influences of the singers/actors on the society. It showed that 4 out of 4 youths who were interviewed viewed the celebrities as their idols, following are their parents. The factors that cause their idol worship are personality and character, which consists of 48%, then it is their moral and ethical standard, which consists of 39%, then it is their accomplishment, which consists 35%, and then the outward appearances consists of only 24%.
Moreover, 80% of the interviewees agree that the celebrities should have a positive image, 90% expect them to bear the social responsibilities, and half of the interviewees expressed that they themselves should bear the social responsibilities. Besides, when asked whether or not the negative reports of the media will influence the image of the celebrities, 25% agrees completely while 30% disagrees completely. Interestingly enough, the majority of the interviewees think that negative images of the celebrities will not affect them seeing them as their idols once again.
Claudia Lau Sin-Yi said that it is reasonable for the society to hold the celebrities accountable to carry the social responsibilities, since they are the ones who set the social trends, but the trends of the society are influenced by many different complicated factors, which require the joint efforts of different parts of the society to make a difference.
She thinks there are four important factors that determine whether a celebrity can carry the social responsibility; the first is the celebrities’ attitudes and choices, where some think that their only responsibility is to sing well and act well; in addition to the environment in the entertainment industry, the business broadcasting organizations set the policies and decisions of selecting and training actors or raising a singer based upon business factors, so celebrities won’t necessary possess the proper attitudes and environment to be responsible towards the society.
Furthermore, Lau thinks that the methods that the media uses such as disclosing private matters and stepping on them destroy the celebrities image, so it becomes difficult to exert any kind of positive influence, and when the celebrities get into trouble most people will only get into a discussion and harshly reprimand the celebrities instead of trying to really understand the big picture and then change the society together.
With differing opinions, the guests rubbed shoulders with each other. Chan Hsu-Bao, who promoted numerous famous artists such as Beyond, Wong Faye, thinks that the people in the record company still mainly look only at the artist music potential, so the young celebrities are greatly influenced by the current society’s atmosphere and are difficult to bear.
Actress Sheren Tang, who entered the entertainment industry when she was 16 years old, had a similar perspective. She thinks that the problem isn’t whether or not the celebrities should carry the social responsibilities, but that it is very difficult for them to carry. While there are much pressure living in the entertainment circle, it is easy for celebrities to fall into temptations and get into trouble.
Wen Jiahua thinks that today’s audiences have a higher expectation than before on the image of the celebrities, where they cast their imaginations on the celebrities hoping that they can maintain pure. She suspects that this phenomenon stems from the audiences themselves or is impregnated by the media.
Reporter Sharon Chan contributed to this report.