"Why not start a teasing livestream?" – dancing lawyer sparks debate

Zhang Long
A young lawyer has apologized for inappropriate remark after revealing her side hustle as a livestreamer made her four times the monthly salary she earns at her law firm.
Zhang Long

A young lawyer's side hustle as a livestreamer and her online comments have led to a heated discussion on working ethics and income disparity among legal professionals.

Dong, who identifies as a young lawyer, commented in a law-related discussion thread: "Why not start a teasing livestream?" She said her lawyer's salary was 5,000 yuan (US$690) a month, whereas her livestream income was around 20,000 yuan.

"Without livestreaming, I couldn't survive in Shanghai," she said, sparking a heated debate.

Dong has uploaded multiple videos of her dancing while giving legal education talks to social media platforms.

"Why not start a teasing livestream?" – dancing lawyer sparks debate

Dong's livestreaming comment sparks debate.

On April 22, the Shanghai Bar Association told thepaper.cn it had taken note and would handle the matter in accordance with the law and regulations.

A representative of the law firm where the young lawyer is employed told thepaper.cn the firm had given her critical feedback and guidance. After discussions, she has recognized her issues. The law firm also stated that it would not terminate her employment.

Screenshots from online platforms revealed that the lawyer is surnamed Dong, a name confirmed by law firm staff to be one of their employees.

Regarding her controversial statement, Dong had previously posted a video on video platform Bilibili.com saying: "It was just a joke I made at the moment." She said she was 25 and facing income anxiety, but "my livestream content does not involve any edgy dances."

Instead, her livestreams mainly address simple legal questions and personal dilemmas. She also apologized for her remark.

"Why not start a teasing livestream?" – dancing lawyer sparks debate

One of lawyer Dong's social media pages, featuring her dances.

On April 21, Dong posted another video responding to the controversy, stating that her comments had been taken out of context. She explained that her intention was to suggest livestreaming as an option to her peers, not to encourage them to engage in provocative dancing.

In the video, she expressed her frustration and anxiety, noting that she had been unable to sleep for several days.

In a video posted on April 21, Dong pleaded for an end to people reposting her inappropriate comment and apologized to the public.

Dong has posted dance videos combined with legal education on various social media platforms. Some people speculated it was a premeditated publicity stunt; others viewed the videos and commented: "It's just normal dancing, maybe a bit charming but nothing over the line."

Yet, other comments stated: "A female lawyer dancing provocatively doesn't just tarnish her own image, but that of all female lawyers and the entire legal profession."

"It is evident from Dong's Bilibili homepage videos that she has made some modifications. After discussions, Dong has acknowledged her mistakes, and the law firm has decided not to dismiss her," Wang, a leader at the law firm where Dong is employed, told thepaper.cn.

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