TV reality show suspended over alleged 'unfair' treatment of late pop singer
"The Voice of China," a major reality singing talent show, has been suspended following allegations of its "unfair" treatment of late pop singer Coco Lee.
Zhejiang Media Group on Friday announced that the suspension is a response to ongoing investigations into concerns raised by audiences and netizens regarding the program.
The decision comes in the wake of a 9-minute audio recording released online on August 17. In the recording, Lee emotionally expressed her grievance about the "unfair" treatment she allegedly endured while participating as a mentor on the show.
According to the leaked audio, Lee disclosed that she was battling breast cancer when she participated in the show. She accused the production team of threatening her after she criticized the competition rules for being unfair. Lee said that she was physically confronted by a director's assistant and told she "must leave the stage."
The recording also revealed that due to a severe leg condition, Lee was unable to stand alone on stage for a long time. She expressed her preference to have someone stand by her side during the filming. However, during the recording process, she was left unsupported, resulting in her falling on the stage.
Following the release of the recording, "The Voice of China" production team responded on the same evening, dismissing the audio as "maliciously edited" and declining to provide a more extensive explanation.
On August 18, a video circulated online showing Lee visibly upset during a recording of the show. In the video, Lee, while seated in a mentor's chair, demanded an explanation from the production team and criticized the unfairness of the competition. She expressed distress over the singer she mentored receiving a score of 88.3 but not being given a second chance, while someone with a score of 73 was granted the opportunity.
Lee's management company, Warner Music China, issued a statement on August 23, asserting their commitment to advocating for their artists' rights and reputation. The statement also expressed the company's intent to protect Lee's privacy and respect her choices.
Chinese-American singer Lee committed suicide in early July after suffering from depression for years.