A Cambodian actress has been banned from making any new movie for a year because the country’s cultural bosses say she is ‘too s*xy’.
Denny Kwan, 24, who has appeared in numerous movies, has had a ‘re-education’ session with the Culture and Fine Arts Ministry after it was decided she had violated a code of conduct, according to DailyMail.
With 300,000 Facebook followers around the world, Miss Kwan said that the parts she played in movies were nothing like the erotic roles played by other actresses.
‘In Cambodia, there are many s*xy artists. Some are even more than me when shooting, featuring kissing and being erotic,’ she said.
‘I know it’s my right to dress how I want, but our culture, Cambodian people, cannot accept it,’ she told the Phnom Penh Post. ‘I will now try not to be s*xy as I usually am when I post on Facebook.’
She told the Cambodia Daily that when she was first called before culture ministry officials they ‘educated me like a daughter’, but she had said she had reserved the right to keep dressing as she wished.
The Ministry’s code of conduct aims to promote the ‘preservation, maintenance of arts, culture, tradition and the identity of the nation’ and ‘prevent any negative effects of the arts and tradition of the nation.’
Now, for the next 12 months, Miss Kwan must not step in front of any movie camera – a punishment that has caused outrage among freedom and women’s groups in the country.
The gender equality group Gender and Development Cambodia, hit out at the ministry’s decision on both ethical and legal grounds.
‘For me, I think that the ministry should not do that to her because she has the right as there is no policy or law to prohibit what people wear,’ said Ms Ros Sopheap, the group’s executive director.
Ms Sopheap said the ministry was violating the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Ms Thida Khus, head of Silaka, a women’s rights group, described the ministry’s action as ‘appalling’.
‘This situation only happens to women and it’s gender discrimination,’ she said. ‘It’s a violation of gender equality. Women are the ones prone to this.’
Ms Khus said the ministry was preventing Miss Kwan from getting work and was asking employers to co-operate by not hiring her – another wave of discrimination, she added.
A gender studies researcher, Theresa de Langis, told the Post that ‘something like this has a chilling effect, not only on her, but on women in general who are hoping to express themselves.’
The culture ministry was adamant it had behaved properly. Chamroeun Vantha, chief of the disciplinary council, said Miss Kwan had been punished because she failed to respect a written promise she made with the ministry last May not to dress in a s*xy way.
‘The council members decided to punish Denny Kwan by not having any activities in the entertainment industry for one year, such as filming, karaoke and singing performances on TV.’
And Pon Putborei, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, said that as a public figure Miss Kwan does not have the right to wear whatever she wants.
‘She needs to be careful with our culture,’ he said.