TVB series, “Barrack O’Karma 1968” (金宵大廈2), was one of the most hyped series after the success of the first installment. Unfortunately, the ratings for the sequel hasn’t fared well compared to its predecessor. The series was also in the hot seat recently when one of the segments featured a storyline about a Filipina domestic worker, “Louise”, that was portrayed by local actress, Franchesca Wong (黃婉華), who is not Filipino.
Many members of the local Filipino community spoke out against TVB for choosing to use a non-Filipina actress to portray the role. The controversy escalated internationally when a clip was shown of Franchesa Wong applying make up to darken her complexion for the role. Franchesca Wong was called out for doing brownface.
TVB did damage control with a statement stating Franchesca Wong did an excellent job portraying the character, but apologizes and expressed they didn’t intend to be disrespectful or racially discriminatory. On April 20, Franchesca Wong spoke out about the issue for the first time and apologized.
The actor and co-star, who shared the clip of Franchesca Wong applying make up, Lam King Ching, also followed up with an apology saying he didn’t carefully think about it before sharing the clip. He also explained there were no implications of disrespect or racial discrimination.
As it turns out, local Filipina artist, Crisel Consunji, who won the Best Newcomer award at the 2019 Hong Kong Film Awards for her portrayal as a Filipina domestic worker in the film, “Still Human”, was reportedly first offered the role of “Louise”. She had turned it down to avoid being typecast. She also provided her perspective on the clip showing Franchesca Wong getting into character for the role and non-Filipinos portraying Filipino roles.