Cut pay for showbiz celebrities
On August 11, China’s video-sharing platforms iQIYI, Youku and Tencent teamed up with six movie and television production companies in issuing a joint statement on curbing sky-high remuneration for actors and actresses.
The statement said that an actor or actress can be paid a maximum one million yuan (US$144,837) before tax per episode and total pretax pay due to a single actor or actress should be capped at 50 million yuan.
Last year, media reported that a high-profile actress received a staggering 60.48 million yuan for a 75-episode series.
Industry watchers interpreted the statement as a signal of incoming self-disciplining within the industry.
Exorbitant compensation for showbiz entertainers has become a lightning rod for criticism of late. Critics even compared their compensation to the amount of the National Science and Technology Award, which hands out a relatively paltry five million yuan to the recipients.
Ironically, the stunningly high celebrity pay does not necessarily translate into a quality blockbuster. On the contrary, some celebrities’ pursuit of material interests has stripped them of the desire to improve their acting skills. Besides, their astronomical pay eats deeply into the film budget, leading to corners being cut in production.
The unreasonable remuneration for actors and actresses is breeding social discontent. Inadequate incentives for workers in other sectors — such as academia — contrast sharply with the extravagant rewards for showbiz stars. This will hinder advancement in science, education and so on.
Another matter of considerable public concern is that young people are increasingly driven to hunt after fame. Instead of focusing on school tasks, some teenagers are reportedly keen to sign up for television talent shows, in hopes of getting a shortcut to fame and fortune.
These unhealthy trends will have a corrosive effect on social morals and the spirit of devotion if left unchecked. Instituting a steep pay cut in the showbiz sector would be a good start.