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South Korean broadcaster receives backlash after omitting ‘ladies’ from Michelle Yeoh’s Oscars speech

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Mar 15, 2023 4:46 pm

A major broadcasting network in South Korea is bearing the brunt of public outrage after it meddled with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh’s speech at the 95th Academy Awards.

Yeoh achieved a historic milestone at the recently concluded awards show when she took home the Oscars trophy for Best Actress in a Leading Role, becoming the first Asian to do so. This is because of her performance in the science fiction comedy film Everything Everywhere All at Once

In her speech, Yeoh gave an inspiring message to all women who aspire to becoming great actors just like her: "This is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that dreams—dream big, and dreams do come true. Ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime."

This is in reference to how women who have gone past their youth are often reduced to limited possibilities in Hollywood.

When South Korean broadcaster, SBS News, aired her speech, viewers observed that they omitted the word "ladies" in its news segment and translated the word to "you all" to exclude any mention of a specific gender.

An official from the agency explained to Korean news site Newsen that they deleted the word because "the phrase ‘Never believe that your golden age has passed’ does not necessarily apply only to women."

The move, which was described by many as a deliberate act of censorship, didn’t sit well with netizens.

"If SBS News believes the message applies to everybody, they should win an Oscar of their own and say everybody in their speech. This is Michelle Yeoh's speech. It belongs to her. Who are they to change it?” one netizen tweeted. “Internalized misogyny and misguided entitlement at disturbing levels."

"SBS News is made up of a bunch of idiots. You cannot misrepresent someone's speech just to suit your own agenda, which in this case is to deny any slant towards women because you have a knee-jerk reaction to feminism. Michelle Yeoh specifically spoke to us women," another one wrote.

Because of the backlash, SBS News decided to delete the segment it posted online and re-upload it to include Yeoh's original remark of "ladies."

According to National Public Radio, South Korea has recently been plagued with issues of gender, where men are claiming to now be victims of gender discrimination. This has led to women feeling uncomfortable speaking up about their rights in fear of being labeled a radical feminist.

Yeoh’s inspirational message for women is rooted from her challenges as an Asian woman trying to gain prominence in Hollywood.