TVB Responds to Backlash Over Actress, Franchesca Wong, Doing Brownface to Portray Filipina Domestic Worker in “Barrack O’Karma 1968”

TVB’s currently airing series, “Barrack O’Karma 1968” (金宵大廈2), sparked international backlash over one if it’s episodes for being racially discriminatory. In episode 7 titled, “The Helper Part 1”, actress, Franchesca Wong (黃婉華), portrays a Filipina domestic worker, “Louise”. Franchesca Wong was born in Hong Kong, but studied in Canada for her higher education before returning to work in Hong Kong and eventually became a stage actor.

Franchesca Wong claims she spent 3 months to learn Tagalog and Filipino style English from her family’s Filipina domestic worker. While Franchesca Wong’s portrayal was praised by most Hong Kong netizens for being authentic, it fell flat for local Filipinos who felt disrespected and voiced out that a Filipino person could’ve done the role. To top it off, there was a clip of Franchesca Wong applying sun tan lotion and make up on her face and body to darken her complexion for the role, which many have accused her of doing brownface.

The news about Franchesca Wong doing brownface had reached international audiences and sparked a conversation on Twitter about Hong Kong’s deep rooted racism.

In response to the criticism, TVB issued a statement saying Franchesca Wong “successfully portrayed the character of ‘Louise’ with her professional and superb acting skills.” TVB also said, “The station emphasizes that it has no intention to express disrespect or discrimination against any nationality on any program. We also express our apologies to anyone who might have been affected by this matter.”

Credit: hk01 (1, 2), Franchesca Wong IG

9 thoughts on “TVB Responds to Backlash Over Actress, Franchesca Wong, Doing Brownface to Portray Filipina Domestic Worker in “Barrack O’Karma 1968”

  1. I don’t see any problem with this. Actor/Actress is supposed to act. You know what is acting? If the story depicts a killer or murderer, do we have to find a real killer to do the job? Stupidity knows no bound.

    1. unless you’re a filipino, you don’t rlly get a say abt this (coming from a filipino). also, playing a killer or a murderer is different from trying to play another race/ethnicity. they should’ve tried harder to find more filipino actresses or just scrap the character altogether if they can’t. there are filipinos offended abt this and they have the right to be. think twice before you say stuff like this.

      1. Your logic is equally absurd. Everyone should have known the story is fictional. And the actors’ characters are also fictional. The truth is that there are many ethnic Chinese Filipinos as well as other multi-racial South East Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The story depicts a Filipino character and not about Filipino race or ethnicity. Please don’t simply mix up the nationality with race or ethnicity.

  2. These people do not understand the saying “DO NOT DO UNTO OTHERS WHAT YOU DO NOT WANT OTHERS DO UNTO YOU.” I am wondering how the Hongkong people will react if one of the television stations in Philippines air a drama that describes how Hongkong employers treat their domestic workers?

  3. Okay as someone who is 1/4 Filipino. Her performance is pretty good. Although I think it would have been better to hire someone who’s actually Filipino cause the accent needs some work..I can still hear that she’s more comfortable in the English language and the supposed Filipino accent sounded forced. One thing that’s wrong is the skin color cause not every Filipino is THAT tan unless they work for a hotel in the beach or they work on the farm. I see some Filipino helpers in Hong Kong that’s not tan and can probably give kpop idols a run for their whitening treatments.

  4. at first glance, my knee-jerk reaction was that it’s fine how she portrayed a Filipina character because she shadowed her own helper for the role, and was inspired by her physique and mannerisms to accurately represent what SHE knows about Filipinas (because that’s the only depiction she could reference in her periphery.)

    the main issue seems to be that 1) she shouldn’t have darkened her skin to appear more stereotypical of Filipinas. and that 2) the role should’ve been given to someone of Filipina descent.

    So addressing point 1) I think this criticism is justified, because there are many Filipinas who are not dark. but a good chunk are and it’s also a trait that’s stereotyped by the general public of Filipinos. still, no race likes being stereotyped, even if it is a typical trait. It’s like saying all white ppl playing Asians should always slant their eyes or color their faces. It’s just inaccurate. But on the other end of that spectrum, there are many Asians with slanty eyes or ivory/brown colored faces, so is the issue with slanty eyes and our coloring? And self-hatred? Or we just don’t like caricatures of ourselves by other races? I don’t have answers to those questions, but just food for thought. 2) this role should’ve gone to someone of Filipina descent, end of story. Representation is important, and if you’re going to use someone of another culture/race in your storyline, be MORE authentic and hire someone of that race. To be fair, this is TVB here and they would pretend someone of Asian descent can be a “White” guy by putting on a blond wig lol.

  5. Stupid…

    so if you want filming a blind people, you have to take the real one… so the pervert, nasty girl, you have to take a real one…. hahaha

    for her dark skin… just go to google & search filipino… and you will see the result by yourseft

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