Taiwanese actor Mike He was blasted by netizens recently, after he appeared to imply that he might opt for abortion for his wife if his third child was not a boy, The Star reported.
The 37-year-old made the remark in a past interview in November 2020 with Taiwanese media NOWnews, which recently caught the attention of Chinese netizens.
He has since posted an apology on Chinese social media site Weibo, saying that if his wife had to "suffer one more time", he hoped that it would be for a baby boy, as they already have two daughters.
While some of his fans defended him in the comment section of his post, many commenters criticised him for trying to "control" his wife's womb, and intending for her to undergo abortion.
"Want to be sure that it's a boy before giving birth"
His controversial remark came in an interview for a recent Sanlih E-Television and Netflix collaboration -- "The Devil Punisher" -- in which he plays a reincarnated demon-fighting deity, Zhong Kui.
After talking about the series, the interviewer steered the questions towards He's personal life, and he spoke about his experience of raising two daughters.
When asked about his plans for a third child, he said that he would seek certain "practices" in hopes that his third child would be a boy.
"Nowadays it seems like you can determine the baby's gender at about seven to eight weeks (of pregnancy), (I) want to be sure that it's a boy before giving birth. Otherwise, I think two daughters is enough", he added.
When the interviewer asked if He would want to keep the child if the third pregnancy turned out to be a girl, he said he "probably wouldn't want to" if it was a girl.
Not his first childbirth-related controversy
His remarks were bashed by Weibo users when it resurfaced recently, and an influencer pointed out that this was not He's first controversial remark about having children.
The influencer mentioned He previously wanted his wife to do a C-section when giving birth to his second child, so that the child would not be a "Virgo".
Taiwanese media Up Media reported that the C-section was carried out two weeks ahead of schedule, as He was worried that a Virgo daughter would be "fussy".
In a subsequent interview with ETtoday, he said the decision of doing the C-section was out of concern for the child's health, and partly due to his wife's fear of undergoing "natural birth".
Criticised by commenters but defended by fans
In his apology, the actor mentioned that "boys and girls are equal", and expressed his love for his two daughters, though many netizens appeared to be unsatisfied with his apology.
"Ensuring it's a boy before giving birth, might not keep the child if it turns out to be a girl? Is this something that's supposed to come out of a public figure's mouth? If the child is not the gender that you want, are you going to ask your wife to abort it? What a good husband."
"Still trying to control a woman's womb even when apologising."
"You only want a boy and are willing to abort a baby girl, where's the gender equality?"
However, some of the actor's fans defended him in the comments, saying that they "trusted him" and "witnessed" his love for his family.
"All these years I knew you as a kind person and someone who cares about his family, (you're) protective of your babies and will be with your family whenever you have the time. He just wants his family to be more complete, can the smearing stop?"
"The media likes to "cherry-pick" and report selectively, whatever you say can be twisted into something negative. Remember to be more careful next time brother (Mike He), don't be too bothered by it."
"Brother (Mike He), we believe in you."
Top image via He Jun Xiang/Facebook
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