The Mr. Hong Kong pageant, an annual televised male beauty contest broadcast by local network TVB, is opening itself to be scrutinized by the sex that it’s showcasing: Men, for the first time in the pageant’s history, will be allowed to attend and judge the contest.
The pageant, now in its seventh year, has been the target of equality groups that accuse it of being sexist against men. In the previous installments of the contest, men haven’t been allowed to attend the live show, which is held at the network’s studio to an open audience of 700 spectators. The 700 guests are invited by the network and are also the ones who vote for the winner of the contest.
Two years ago, the network received complaints that the candidates were being grabbed by eager female fans during the swimwear session of the contest. One attendee, actress Christine Ng Wine-mei, had to take a few breaths from an oxygen mask after having touched a contestant. The network subsequently banned any physical contact with the contestants in the 2010 contest.
“For the last few years, we had some suggestions and ideas from the audience,” said Youco Chan, a spokeswoman for the network. “So after consideration, we have decided to change it a little bit this year.”
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