Fact Check: Female Staff Forced To Kiss Their Male Boss Every Morning In This Company
A company in China allegedly makes their female workers kiss their boss on the lips every day before they start work.
According to Sky News, the Beijing-based company apparently make the female workers line up between 9 and 9.30am to share a kiss with their boss in an apparent attempt to strengthen the bond between employee and manager.
According to a report from Chinese news company Sohu, many of the women at the business, which sells home-brewery equipment, were initially reluctant to conform with the idea.
However, the mystery video has sparked controversy, with many describing the claims as “false”.
The footage, which was reportedly shot at a brewery machine company in Beijing, China, appears to show an office boss demanding that his female employees kiss him on the lips.
The man, whose age is not clear, can be seen kissing a line of three women in turn. He kisses one woman, before stepping to the right and kissing another woman twice, before then doing the same with a third woman.
It was reported the boss required his female employees to kiss him each morning as part of “morale building” and to help “foster good relationships among colleagues”. Reports claimed the women were reluctant to do so but complied over fears they could lose their jobs.
The video drew widespread criticism in China because it seemed to confirm perceptions of working conditions and gender relations.
But since the reports swept the internet, there have been claims that it was “fake news”, after several members of staff at the company said it didn’t happen.
One woman working at the company that had been named in the reports told the New York Times: “It’s fake news. Look yourself [gesturing around her]. Our office doesn’t look anything like the office in the video.”
Another employee reportedly laughed when asked about the video during a reporter’s unannounced visit, pointing out that no one there was wearing the black-and-white uniforms seen in the clip, that the man in the video did not look like the boss at Hansens, and that the employees appeared to be passing something from mouth to mouth rather than kissing.
Via New York Times:
The Hansens office does not look like the one in the video. It is larger, with a fish pond snaking across its wooden floor and a bar in the center.
What the video does reveal, though, is how this tech-savvy country, where 688 million people have internet access, is grappling with a digitally driven “post-truth” environment, just as other nations are.
But complicating the situation in China is an underlying “pre-truth,” the result of state censorship that manipulates and directs reporting.
“The truth is always pre-made in China rather than uncovered through the reporting of facts,” David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong, said in an interview.
One result is that fact and fiction are at times hardly distinguishable online, reflected in annual lists of the country’s biggest “fake news” stories.
One such story last year involved a document, said to be from the State Council, China’s cabinet, setting limits on the amount a man could pay his bride’s family when marrying. (The “limit” was reported to be 30,000 renminbi, about $4,460; the “fine” for exceeding it 60,000 renminbi.) Officials from the Ministry of Public Security declared the story false.
Disinformation does not go entirely unchecked. Chinese can face administrative or criminal penalties for spreading fake news reports, though human rights advocates say the rules are also used to silence dissent.
The “kiss the boss” story began life as a short video on Tencent on Aug. 3, with the title “A company team-building scene: Female workers line up with the boss.” The next day, the female workers were said to be lining up to “kiss the boss.” By October, when the report spread quickly online, it had become “female workers line up to kiss the boss every day.”
One commenter wrote on Weibo that he would like to work at the company. “Most of all,” he said, “I’d like to be that boss.”
Others despaired. “This boss is too evil,” another commenter said on Weibo. “What are those women doing, staying there?”
Some questioned why so many online comments made light of sexual harassment in the workplace. One woman said she had once been “forcibly kissed by a boss.”
It is unclear who introduced changes to the narrative, but a report on WeChat by SaveMedia, a media tracking site, blamed editors for not confirming what they publish. “Female workers lining up to kiss the boss? False! Media editors lining up to jump into a ditch is the truth here,” the headline on the article read.
“Normally, if something’s been posted by other mainstream media, we don’t do fact-checking because we assume they’ve already done that,’’ said a man who answered the phone at China National Radio, when asked how the station vets news reports. The man declined to give his name.
“You could argue that ordinary people don’t have the responsibility to check the truth,” said Wei Xing, an editor at Pear Video, a content provider start-up in Shanghai.
“But the media, especially traditional media, do have that responsibility,” said Mr. Wei, who formerly worked for the news website The Paper. “They should make it an everyday habit.”
“In Chinese media now, there are lots of problems with online information — for example, not verifying sources,” he continued. “The media is pursuing clicks and high-impact stories too much. It all leads to the spread of fake news.”