Social media cussing by Vietnamese celebrities has upset both netizens and experts who are concerned that it sets a bad example for the youth.
In a live-streamed video late last month, Misthy, or Le Thy Ngoc, a streamer with 5.75 million subscribers to her YouTube channel, was profane in responding to a comment on her video.
“F*** you,” she said, naming the fan who had commented on the celebrity’s close friend.
Ngoc’s swearing evoked a community backlash, with netizens saying they cannot accept a famous person using dirty words in her videos, especially considering that many of the viewers are under 18, the age when a person becomes an adult in Vietnam.
The 25-year-old streamer is not the only one to cuss on social media. Many of her peers are well known for the use of F-bombs in their videos.
Phung Thanh Do, owner of the “Do Mixi” YouTube channel with more nearly 4.5 million subscribers, is one of them.
In September 2020, a lot of netizens condemned Do for the use of swear words in dozens of his videos, making them his “signature.”
“I am tired of hearing you swearing, how can everyone watch your video if you keep using those filthy words?” one viewer commented.
Several Vietnamese celebrities have become known for using swear words in their posts and videos on social networks. Photo illustration by Shutterstock/durantelallera.
Models, actresses, singers and other celebrities have also been caught using vulgar language on various fora, including Facebook and TV programs.
Senior model Trang Tran is one of the more “notorious” ones.
“I do not give a f***,” she responded to complaints about her cussing in a live-streamed video.
In 2014, when Trang participated in adventure reality game show Amazing Race, the program had to censor many of her swear words with beep sounds.
Other celebrities like models Ngoc Trinh, Vu Hanh Nguyen, singer Tuan Hung and rising rapper MCK have also used swear words in their Facebook posts.
Sorry, not really
Several artists have explained their use of profanity saying it was unplanned, an emotional outburst that happened unwittingly.
In 2018, singer Khac Viet apologized in public at a press conference after using swear words to curse people criticizing his brother, triggering a boycott wave against him.
“I was drunk and could not control myself. This is a lesson for me. I apologize to my brother and fans,” he said.
A couple of months ago, rising streamer Do also expressed regret, saying he was wrong to use a lot of swear words in his YouTube videos.
There are several celebrities who don’t think swearing is a big deal, that it makes them look “cool” and strong.
Sociologist Trinh Hoa Binh says there are people who think using foul language is evidence of courage and toughness.
Trang Tran is not repentant about her cussing on live-streamed videos.
“Oh, I am famous again. I thought they headlined other things about me, but it was about my swearing… This means that I am still hot,” Trang commented after local media featured her use of profanity.
There is a section of the audience that also does not take offence.
“Don’t be serious. Don’t you and the people around you use swear words? She is just like us,” a netizen commented on a video of Ngoc Trinh, who uses the F word regularly.
“Stars have their own emotions, they may get angry, sad, or jealous like anyone of us, so expressing it or cursing is not harmful,” commented another viewer on a video by Do.
Recently, people were divided over rapper MCK’s use of a lot of curse words in an old Instagram post and a video.
While some said it was not acceptable, others felt it was alright that the young rapper, who initially refused to apologize for his language, to use the words he did.
Senior actress Lan Huong said foul language and daily life jokes may be acceptable in private, but not in front of many fans and people on stage or social media.
“Artists belong to the public, so they should be careful,” Huong said.
With a majority of local netizens spending more than two hours a day on apps like Facebook, YouTube, Messenger and Zalo, according to a survey by HCMC-based market research firm Q&Me in 2019), experts say that social media content is bound to exert an influence on users, especially, the youth.
Several psychologists have said that artists who express extreme emotion and use extreme language can set bad examples for their fans.
The Do Mixi channel on YouTube, has put a warning line before its video to tell those under 18 to stop watching, but it has not turned on the age restriction mode that filters out potentially “mature” content.
“My 15-year-old son likes video games so he enjoys Do’s videos. I looked at it the other day and was shocked by the swearing,” said Nguyen Thanh Tuan, a father.
Sociologist Pham Thi Thuy said the father’s reaction was understandable, likening filthy language to a dirty stream watering youngsters’ minds.
She said adults were not paying due attention to the problem. “When our children eat dirty food, we are scared. But when their ‘food for the soul’ is dirty, many of us are nonchalant.”