Fans enraged by celebrity Godfrey Gao’s death on reality TV show | Society News | SupChina
Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

Premium

Join the thousands of executives, diplomats, and journalists that rely on SupChina for daily analysis of the full China story.

Daily Newsletter

All the news, every day. Premium analysis directly from our Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Goldkorn.

24/7 Slack Community

Have China-related questions and want answers? Our Slack community is a place to learn, network, and opine.

Free Live Events & More

Monthly live conference calls with leading experts, free entry to SupChina live events in cities around the world, and more.

"A jewel in the crown of China reporting. I go to it, look for it daily. Why? It adds so much insight into the real China. Essential news, culture, color. I find SupChina superior."
— Max Baucus, former U.S. Ambassador to China

Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

OR… for more in-depth analysis and an online community of China-focused professionals:

Learn About Premium Access Now!
Learn More
Minimize
Learn More
Minimize

Fans enraged by celebrity Godfrey Gao’s death on reality TV show

Supermodel and actor Godfrey Gao (高以翔 Gāo Yǐxiáng), who grew up in Canada and spent his career mostly in Taiwan and the mainland, died on November 27 after suffering a heart attack while filming a Chinese reality TV show.

According to multiple sources, the 35-year-old was in Ningbo, on the set of Chase Me (追我吧 zhuī wǒ ba), a competitive sports reality show broadcast on China’s Zhejiang Television, when he collapsed sometime after midnight. He was taken to the nearest hospital in critical condition. After about three hours, he was pronounced dead.

tumblr lxc5a61aK61r3mz5oo1 500

As a model, Gao was best known for being the first Asian model to appear in an ad campaign for the fashion house Louis Vuitton. In Hollywood, he played roles in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and The Jade Pendant. In mainland China, he gained a large following by playing a disabled architect in the romantic soap drama Remembering Lichuan (遇见王沥川 yùjiànwáng lìchuān).

Gao’s sudden death has raised a series of alarming questions about the program and the network behind it. Classified as “urban action variety,” a genre of game reality shows in an urban environment, the premise of Chase Me sees a group of people selected from its audience running after celebrities who take on extreme physical challenges such as rock climbing along the way.

Despite the dangerous stunts on the show, there were no safety experts or emergency medical personnel on the set. According to a person who claimed to be in the audience on the day of the event, the show failed to provide immediate and adequate medical assistance to Gao when he fell to the ground and became unconscious. Before Gao received basic CPR from a volunteer in the audience, Huáng Jǐngyú 黄景瑜, another celebrity who was on the set, could be heard shouting, “Where is the doctor?” About 45 minutes after Gao’s collapse, ambulance personnel arrived at the scene and took the star to a hospital.

Screen Shot 2019 11 27 at 3.51.47 PM

This is not the first time people have been injured or died while participating in variety shows produced by Zhejiang Television. In 2013, a staff member in the management team of Shì Xiǎolóng 释小龙, a Chinese actor and martial artist, drowned in a pool used for Splash! 中国星跳跃, a show where celebrities try to master the art of diving. In 2018, Chinese singer 张杰 Zhāng Jié reportedly fainted after using glass pipes to blow Ping-Pong balls in a competitive program called Ace vs. Ace 王牌对王牌.

The news of Gao’s death has generated a tremendous amount of anger on Chinese social media, with hundreds and thousands of internet users calling for a boycott of the show. In a viral post (in Chinese) shared more than 90,000 times on Weibo, one user raises 10 questions regarding Gao’s death and presses the network to give answers. “We need to know how Zhejiang Television will console Gao’s family and his fans. We also need to know how it will prevent similar tragedies from reoccurring.”

Share
Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.