Korean broadcaster accused of misogyny after editing Yeoh’s Oscar speech

Controversy erupted after SBS edited out the word "ladies" from the actress's speech and translated it to "everyone" in its coverage.


March 16, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – South Korean television network SBS recently came under fire for editing out a portion of Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar acceptance speech, NME reported.

At the 95th Academy Awards held Sunday (March 12), Yeoh made history as the first Asian woman to win in the Best Actress category for her performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Following her win, the 60-year-old delivered an inspiring speech dedicated to “all the boys and girls who look like me”, encouraging them to chase their dreams.

She continued her speech with a message aimed at women around the world, saying: “And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime. Never give up.”

According to Yonhap News Agency, Yeoh’s speech was covered by three of South Korea’s major news networks: KBS, MBC and SBS.

However, controversy erupted after SBS edited out the word “ladies” and translated it to “everyone” in its coverage.

In a statement released Tuesday (March 14), the broadcaster said: “We excluded the word because we felt that the message, ‘Don’t let anyone tell you you are ever past your prime,’ isn’t exclusive to women.”

On Twitter, SBS was bombarded with thousands of comments from enraged netizens, with many deeming the network’s actions to be “misogynistic”.

“Don’t (bring) your misogyny to Michelle’s speech. Please be respectful. If you can’t translate her speech accurately, don’t translate it at all,” wrote @heartnfox.

“SBS’ answer to editing out ‘ladies’ from Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar speech is not only insane because of the misogyny, but also because that’s her speech. You don’t get to remove the parts you don’t like to spread a message you consider better,” said @helechoue.

@itsakyo echoed the sentiment: “This is Michelle Yeoh’s speech. It belongs to her. Who are they to change it? This is internalised misogyny and misguided entitlement at disturbing levels.”

Meanwhile, some have also pointed that editing out the word “ladies” to exclude any mention of a gender diminishes the struggles many women are facing in real life.

“They (SBS) censored the word ‘ladies’ with the excuse that it should be for everybody. It’s still unreasonable. There’s a reason why she used ‘ladies’ specifically. To erase it, the meaningful message is lost,” said @ComicsByVieN.

“Michelle Yeoh was specifically talking about women within a specific age range that aren’t being hired because they’re past their prime. By censoring ‘ladies’, it distorts her entire message,” @colapringles wrote in the comment section of a Korea’s entertainment portal’s report.

It’s worth mentioning that last month, Yeoh told the Los Angeles Times in a podcast that she was once pressured to retire from acting.

“You know, as you get older, people start saying, ‘Oh yeah, you should retire. You should do this. You should …’ No, guys. Do not tell me what to do. I should be in control of what I am capable of, right?” she said.

Following the backlash, SBS has since removed the edited segment on YouTube and re-uploaded the full speech which included Yeoh’s remark of “ladies”.

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