A Cambodian actress has been banned from making any new movies for a year because the country’s cultural bosses say she is ‘too sexy’. 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.
Denny said that the parts she played in movies were nothing like the erotic roles played by other actresses. ‘I know it’s my right to dress how I want, but our culture, Cambodian people, cannot accept it,’ she said. The culture ministry officials ‘educated her 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.
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.’ For more 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.
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 sexy 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.