Godfrey Gao’s Passing Ignites Debates about Media Industry’s Work Culture

The death of Godfrey Gao has sparked outrage over working conditions in China’s TV industry, due to its long hours, extreme stunts, and lax safety standards.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, actor and model Godfrey Gao collapsed midway through shooting an episode of the Chinese reality TV show “Chase Me.”

The star was rushed to a hospital in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, but medical staff were unable to revive him. At around 4 a.m., doctors confirmed Gao had passed away of “sudden cardiac arrest,” according to a statement released by the show’s management.

Gao — who was luxury brand Louis Vuitton’s first Asian model and star of movies including the 2013 blockbuster “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” — was a popular figure in China, and news of his sudden passing has dominated discussions on Chinese social networks during the past 48 hours. Dozens of celebrities shared their grief, while fans vented their rage at the perceived irresponsibility of the show’s producers. But the incident has also ignited a wider debate about the extreme working conditions inside China’s media industry, which many believe endanger the safety of crew and stars alike.

Zhejiang Television, the company behind “Chase Me,” is infamous for its celebrity-filled reality TV programming that subjects famous guests to tough physical challenges and even tougher shooting schedules. For many netizens, the fact that Gao fell while being filmed competing in a race outdoors at 2 a.m. was emblematic of the firm’s troubling work culture. Continue to read the full article here.


– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.