A Chinese reality television show was suspended after fans were found throwing away boxes of yogurt drinks they had bought only to obtain QR codes inside to help their celebrity idols to win the contest.
The third season of “Youth With You” was suspended, while the producer iQIYI and exclusive sponsor Mengniu Dairy had to apologize.
A clip was posted online in late April showing that fans had bought a large amount of yogurt drinks from Mengniu, in order to get a QR code under the bottle cap that they could use to vote for their celebrity idols in the show. More than 10 people were seen opening bottle after bottle, and pouring away the liquid inside.
It was understood that the clip was shot last year, but was only uploaded recently, drawing condemnation from internet users as wasteful and violating the spirit of a movement to preserve food that has been championed by President Xi Jinping.
State-owned Xinhua News Agency carried an article saying that the incident showed disrespect to labor, and profiting from wastage.
IQIYI suspended recording and live broadcasts of the show.
It said in a statement that the show overlooked its social responsibility for spreading correct values and it regretted the incident. IQIYI said it would take responsibility for the negative impact and apologized for the incident, as it strongly opposed any wastage.
Mengniu also apologized, saying that it would work with iQIYI over remedial measures and it opposed any kind of food wastage.
The show has also attracted other controversy. The parents of contestant Tony Yu were accused of running a karaoke business where transactions involving drugs and sex took place.
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