Facing public criticism for his organizations’ inaction during the free-to-air license protests, Eric Tsang announced that he will resign from his post as president of the Hong Kong Performing Artistes Guild on October 23.
Hong Kong citizens became enraged last week after the government revealed its decision to reject HKTV’s free-to-air broadcast license.
An online movement formed soon after, and over 120,000 locals attended a protest rally on October 20 to demand an explanation and to appeal the decision.
Prior to the rally, the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers publicly declared their support for HKTV, calling the judgment unfair and criticized the government for not being transparent.
Two of the Federation’s ten member organizations were noticeably absent during Saturday’s joint press conference: Hong Kong Film Arts Association and Hong Kong Performing Artistes Guild.
The public quickly pointed fingers at Performing Artistes Guild president Eric Tsang, saying that he placed gag orders in order to maintain his close ties with TVB.
On October 21, film producer Stephen Shiu alleged that Eric phoned Federation Chairman Ng See Yuen ahead of Sunday’s protest to ban the Federation from participating in the rally.
Shiu also accused the Film Arts Association for being Eric’s pawn and questioned Eric’s integrity. Eric denied Shiu’s accusations today, saying that he has absolutely no say in Film Arts Association’s decisions.
As for why the Guilds were absent during Saturday’s joint statement, Eric explained that the Federation typically would not issue statements until its members reach a unanimous decision.
Working in China at the time, Eric agreed to the call for transparency though was hesitant to support Ricky Wong or HKTV.
He suggested for the Federation to hold a meeting to discuss the issue, but Chairman Ng and Hong Kong Film Directors Guild’s president Derek Yee green-lit the press release without Eric’s consent.
“If we could discuss it and come to a mutual understanding, maybe all of us would have worn black shirts on Sunday to support our colleagues.”
Eric added, “From an artist’s perspective, more TV licenses means more opportunities… our guild’s purpose has always been to seek benefits for our members without being embroiled in politics….”
He feels that he did not handle the matter in a satisfactory manner, and decided to step down from his post.
Eric emphasized that his resignation has nothing to do with his relationship with TVB, and stated that he simply wants to be free to express his own opinions.