Edison Chen performance career rewritten: Hong Kong Sex picture scandal concludes Asian movie star’s acting career
The curtain fell on the startling career of the Hong Kong hip-hop bad boy Edison Chen yesterday, after he retired from showbiz in the wake of a nude celebrity photo scandal. The explicit photos have rocked the territory and will make Cantopop stars and film starlets think twice about meeting a loved one’s wishes to get down and dirty in the boudoir for an amateur photo shoot.
While the mainland has been gripped by tales of blizzards and trapped migrant workers, Hong Kong has been more concerned with what was on Edison Chen’s hard drive. And they have been asking themselves what the 27-year-old Canadian-born heart-throb thought he was doing taking 1,300 photos of himself having sex with a dozen different starlets.
“I have failed as a role model,” said the clearly shocked actor as cameras flashed from the hundreds of reporters gathered. “However I wish that this matter will teach everyone a lesson.”
Edison Chen’s career was on an upswing before the scandal broke – fronting for Pepsi and a mention in People magazine’s sexiest men alive list. And the furore has been tricky for him to handle. He admitted for the first time yesterday that most of the pictures circulating on the internet – where on one site they have been viewed nearly 28 million times – had been taken by him. “These photos were very private and have not been shown to people and were never intended to be shown to anyone,” he said.
Edison Chen had previously made an impassioned plea for people to delete the photos and stop downloading them. But it’s hard to call for decency when your reputation is based on being a hip-hop gangster-style “playa”. He acted in Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong triad film which was the basis for Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning film The Departed.
Hong Kongers are less reserved than their counterparts across the border, but they are still fairly prudish on matters sexual. So it was with a mixture of titillation and horror that they looked at the pictures, which seem to have been stolen from Chen’s pink laptop after he took it to a repair shop. Hong Kong police have so far made 10 arrests in connection with the scandal.
Could that really be Gillian Chung, half of Hong Kong’s sweeter-than-sugar singing sensation Twins posing like that? Or The Promise star Cecilia Cheung in a compromising position? There’s no way that’s Bobo Chan in flagrante delicto? On Chinese-language websites, bloggers carefully compared the tattoos on the stars’ bodies and birthmarks and moles to see if they matched other pictures. They were definitely fairly good copies, if they were fakes.
Emperor Entertainment, Chung’s management company, said they were fake initially, but a public statement by Chung apologising for the photos, saying it was time to get on with her life and career after the embarrassment was widely read as an admission that the photos were probably real. She got a standing ovation. While there is sympathy there, it will take a PR behemoth to repair the squeaky clean images of Chung and Chan, and there are question marks over the planned wedding between Cheung and the Hong Kong film star Nicholas Tse.
As for Chen, he is now hoping for some time away from the media spotlight. “Let’s help the wounded heal their wounds,” he said. He said he planned to do some charity work, telling reporters: “I’ve decided to do this to give myself an opportunity to heal myself and to search my soul.”
Vancouver-born actor Edison Chen apologizes for taking sex photos
Vancouver-born Hong Kong actor Edison Chen admitted Thursday taking most of the widely circulated photos showing him and several women performing sexual acts.
Edison Chen, who appeared alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar in “The Grudge 2,” didn’t identify the women in the photos, which appear to show him and several female stars – including singer Gillian Chung and actress Cecilia Cheung – either engaged in sex acts or in sexually suggestive poses.
“These photos were very private and have not been shown to people and were never intended to be shown to anyone,” Chen said at a news conference, adding the photos were stolen and distributed without his approval.
Edison Chen was born in Vancouver and attended secondary school in Richmond, B.C., before moving to Hong Kong where he was discovered in 1999 and asked to do a commercial.
Hong Kong police have already arrested several people in connection with the photos on suspicion of violating local laws governing obscene material, including the man who is accused of downloading the photos from a computer brought to a shop for repairs and publishing them on the Internet.
The scandal has dominated headlines in Hong Kong for weeks, with the images widely circulated over the Internet.
Edison Chen, 27, who returned to Hong Kong from the U.S. Thursday, apologized profusely for the photos and said he would take an indefinite break from the Hong Kong entertainment industry after fulfilling his outstanding contracts and devote himself to charity and community work.
“I would like to apologize to all the ladies and to all their families for any harm or hurt they have been feeling. I’m sorry,” Chen said, without identifying the women.
“I hope after today, I can have your forgiveness . . . I hope you all will accept my apologies and give me a chance,” he said.
Cheung has not spoken publicly about the photos and Chung, a member of the Hong Kong female pop duo Twins, said last week she was “naive and silly” without confirming the authenticity of the pictures. Chung’s management company, Emperor Entertainment Group, said earlier the photos were doctored.
Wearing a black jacket over an untucked striped shirt and dark blue jeans, Chen appeared nervous, taking a deep breath before reading a prepared statement in English to several hundred reporters who were cordoned off from the actor by several metal barriers.
He also said he failed as a role model.
“To all the young people in our community, let this be a lesson for you all. This is not an example to be set for you,” Chen said.
Edison Chen is mainly known for his singing and acting careers in the Chinese industry, with his main credits including the crime thriller “Infernal Affairs” – which was remade by Martin Scorsese as “The Departed” – and its two sequels.
A hub for the Chinese-language movie and music industries, Hong Kong is known for its vibrant celebrity culture. Voyeurism in connection with local stars has stirred controversy in the past.
A magazine cover photo showing Chung changing after a concert in Malaysia sparked a major backlash in 2006.
A local magazine was shut down temporarily after it published a cover photo of a visibly distressed, seminude female, widely reported to be actress Carina Lau, in October 2002.
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