Zhejiang Media Group, broadcaster of the Chinese singing competition Sing! China, has officially launched an investigation into the show.
This comes days after an audio clip, which allegedly features the late singer Coco Lee claiming she was mistreated on Sing! China, became viral.
Lee was a judge on the seventh season of the competition, which aired in 2022. She died on Jul 5 this year at the age of 48, following a suicide attempt days earlier.
In a statement published on its website, Zhejiang Media Group wrote: “We are aware that Sing! China is encountering some problems. Zhejiang Satellite TV has the responsibility to strengthen programme supervision and perform its duties as a broadcast platform.
“At the same time, we urge (Sing! China’s) programme producer to listen to everyone’s opinions seriously and effectively maintain fairness in the programme production so that every participant is respected.
“In response to the issues that everyone is concerned about, we will further investigate and verify in a responsible manner.”
The controversy began on Aug 17 when an alleged audio clip of Lee leaked online. In this nine-minute clip, a person believed to be Lee can be heard crying as she claimed that she was bullied by the director of Sing! China and its production team, following her outburst on the show.
The aforementioned outburst happened during the show’s production in 2022 where Lee blasted the show’s staff for eliminating her mentee Zhou Feige despite him receiving a higher score than another contestant.
One of the bullying instances raised by Lee in the leaked clip was an incident during the filming of the show’s final episode.
Prior to filming the episode, Lee told the production crew that she had a leg injury and could not stand for too long. As such, she needed her mentee Wang Zepeng to stand beside her and support her.
However, during the actual filming, Lee claimed that the production team cued Wang to stand away from her which eventually caused her to stumble and fall.
On Aug 20, Wang Zepeng supported Lee while sharing his side of the story on Weibo. He claims he did not know of Lee’s request to stand next to him until after the show as his mobile phone was taken away during rehearsals.
In a 17-minute screen recording of texts between Wang and Lee, Wang can be seen apologising to Lee with the latter saying that “it was okay”, adding: “Now we know that we will meet very bad people, those who are evil, in this world.”