Chinese court finds #MeToo allegations defamed journalist

The #MeToo movement has faced difficulty in gaining momentum in China. (AP)
The #MeToo movement has faced difficulty in gaining momentum in China. (AP)
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Updated 09 January 2021

Chinese court finds #MeToo allegations defamed journalist

Chinese court finds #MeToo allegations defamed journalist

TAIWAN: In a potential blow to the #MeToo movement in China, a court ruled that two former journalists defamed a third journalist by publishing an account accusing him of sexual misconduct.
A court in the eastern city of Hangzhou ruled Tuesday that the evidence provided by Zou Sicong and He Qian against prominent journalist Deng Fei was “not enough to allow someone to firmly believe without any hesitation that what was described truly happened.”
The court ordered He and Zou to pay 11,712 yuan ($1,813) in damages. They plan to appeal the ruling.
The lawsuit was based on an article written by He that Zou published online in 2018, in which He alleged Deng lured her to a hotel room in 2009 to discuss story ideas, then tried to grope her.
He said that at the time, she was a 21-year-old intern at a news magazine where Deng was chief reporter.
The article came amid a swell of allegations as young women across China went public with stories of sexual assault and misconduct as part of the global #MeToo movement.
However, the movement has had difficulty gaining traction in China, where politics, arts and the business world remain overwhelmingly male-dominated. Accusations brought both publicly and anonymously against a few dozen men in industries ranging from media to academia have sparked a backlash, and since 2018, at least six men have brought defamation suits against either their accusers or people who helped publicize the accusations.
Deng denied the allegation, writing on his WeChat microblog that he had “never done anything this stupid or this bad.” He petitioned successfully to keep details of the case out of the public record to protect the privacy of third parties who might
be mentioned.
“I did not even get a chance to find the relevant evidence to prove my innocence, and further, given it’s been 10 years, I don’t even remember this person who said herself that she has only seen me once,” Deng wrote.
Throughout the process, Zou and He said they faced a higher burden of proof under Chinese law. Although China allowed sexual misconduct as a ground for lawsuits in 2019, the definition of such harassment remains murky and very few cases are filed. Many have been prosecuted in courts as labor disputes or under laws to protect public reputations.
Tuesday’s decision could discourage others from coming forward with reports of sexual misconduct in the future, the defendants said.
“This is equal to telling someone who was humiliated, who was hurt, that if you don’t have audio recordings or videos of the event, then you better hurry up and shut your mouth,” Zou’s and He’s lawyer, Xu Kai, said.
“The court had imposed the entire burden of proof on Zou Sicong and He Qian.”


Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA

Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA
Updated 18 January 2021

Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA

Omnicom’s 180 agency launches in MENA
  • 180 launched its first office in Amsterdam nearly 20 years ago with a second one in Los Angeles

RIYADH: Omnicom agency 180 is expanding into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with offices in Dubai and Doha.

180 launched its first office in Amsterdam nearly 20 years ago with a second one in Los Angeles. Along with its MENA offices in the UAE and Qatar, the agency is now also setting up shop in New York as part of its expansion strategy.

The agency’s global operations are led by Amsterdam-based CEO Sander Volten, alongside Al Moseley, global chairman and chief creative officer, based in Los Angeles. 

“Since the founding of 180, the agency has always been hyper focused on bringing different and fresh perspectives to our clients and consumers,” said Volten.

“With its interconnected hubs across different continents, 180 provides a fresh new perspective, emanating from an ecosystem of expertise, international talent, and modern creative solutions powered by data, audience intelligence, and social to better serve clients and give their brands relevance on a global scale.” 

Youssef Chahine, general manager at 180’s sister agency TBWA\RAAD, will lead the operations of the MENA hub, although it is unclear as to whether he will maintain both roles.

“We intend to be a premium partner to the region’s most ambitious brands, ensuring they have access to transformative, world-class talent to help them lead on both a global and regional scale,” said Chahine.

The MENA team will work day-to-day with clients on the ground and will have access to the brand building, design, brand strategy, digital, and partnership experience of the 180 ecosystem in Los Angeles, New York, and Amsterdam.

Although 180 MENA is launching now, the agency has been working with regional clients such as Qatar Airways and Al Jazeera for nearly 10 years through its Amsterdam office.

Moseley said: “After a decade of experience in the region, we are excited about having a team on the ground. We think it’s fair to say that if there is one region on Earth that knows what it means to see the world as it could be, it’s the MENA region.”