China influencer who claims to be champion of working classes in videos exposed as ‘heartless boss’ in real life

Online star plays workers’ champion in videos has 16 million followers, her company admits exploiting staff, insists on unpaid work, long shifts. — SCMP

A social media influencer in China with 16 million followers – famous for her portrayal of a nanny speaking up for the working classes – has been exposed as a hypocritical and heartless boss in real life.

Known online as Seven Gorillas, or Qi Ke Xingxing in Mandarin, the influencer, based in central China’s Hubei province, plays a rebellious nanny in the online short video series Reborn: I Became a Nanny in a Feel-Good Drama.

Her character, Wang Ma, exposes workplace injustices and promotes equality, while satirising situations in which workers are exploited and oppressed by their bosses.

Her portrayal is viewed by many workers as giving a voice to their struggles in real life.

Since its debut in March, the series has released 21 episodes, helping the influencer gain about one million followers within a month of its debut, while also significantly boosting the profits of her multichannel network company, Wild Culture.

The influencer plays a character who fights injustice and promotes equality. Photo: The Paper

According to data from Xingtu, a prominent China influencer marketing platform, the company’s 20-second advertising videos are priced at 450,000 yuan (RM291,978 or US$63,000) while those from 21-60 seconds and longer than one minute are priced at 500,000 yuan (RM324,420) and 600,000 yuan (RM389,304), respectively.

However, Wild Culture was recently exposed for exploiting its staff.

It was revealed that core positions recruited online, such as directors, are paid only 4,000 yuan (RM2,595 or US$560) a month and the company does not provide social insurance during the probationary period.

Additionally, employees had to bring their own computers to work, extras appearing in short videos were unpaid and the company followed a schedule of alternating six and five-day working weeks.

On May 26, Wild Culture responded and acknowledged the allegations, stating that it would rectify the situation.

The company said it would implement a double weekend shift system so employees who work on Saturday and Sunday have two rest days during the week.

It also said it would provide social insurance during the probationary period.

The company also announced an increase in the minimum salary for all positions.

“For both current and newly hired employees, the minimum salary will be no less than 6,000 yuan (RM3,893 or US$850). Additionally, from now on, the company will only recruit extras through formal channels and ensure they are paid on time.”

The KOL’s company has admitted wrongdoing and says it will change its ways. Photo:

Social media observers have called out what they call hypocrisy.

“Using interviews to exploit applicants to write scripts for her without hiring them was the worst part. The other issues are just the final straw,” one person said.

“Offering two-day weekends and immediate insurance upon hiring are basic rights for workers, yet they’re being touted as highlights. Ridiculous!” said another.

“Exploiting her employees – what a disgraceful display,” a third person wrote. – South China Morning Post

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