The Taiwanese Netflix political drama "Wave Makers" has sparked a #MeToo wave in Taiwan.
The series premiered on April 28, featuring a scene about workplace sexual harassment.
It triggered a series of sexual assault allegations that have rocked Taiwan's political scene.
A new Taiwanese political drama series on Netflix that premiered on April 28 has sparked a #MeToo wave in Taiwan. Since its debut, a total of four high-level party officials have resigned, per the Washington Post.
At the eye of the #MeToo hurricane is a powerful scene from "Wave Makers," where the protagonist, a senior party member, promises to seek justice for a junior staffer who had been sexually assaulted by a colleague.
"Let's not just let this go, OK? We can't let things go this easily. Otherwise, we'll slowly wither away and die," she tells her junior, despite higher-ups pushing for a cover-up of the incident.
This line threw open the floodgates to a wave of sexual assault allegations. It began with a former staffer of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Chen Chien-jou, who quoted that line from the show in a Facebook post on May 31.
In her post, Chen described the details of her sexual assault case and accused her supervisor and then head of the DPP's women's affairs department, Hsu Chia-tien, for blaming Chen for the incident and brushing her complaints off.
"After many months, I thought I could let myself go. Recently, when I was looking at the candidates, I was overwhelmed countless times, and I cried until I almost died," wrote Chen in the post, which has garnered over 21,000 likes as of June 14.
Her post drew attention and support from the public and inspired more than 15 women and men to come forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment perpetrated by political figures, per South China Morning Post.
At least 10 of these cases involved members of the DPP or figures linked to the party, per SCMP.
"Because of 'Wave Makers,' we are now seeing the first wave of a #MeToo movement in Taiwan," Chen Mei-hua, a sociology and feminism professor at National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan, told the Washington Post.
Following the surge of sexual assault allegations, four high-level party members in Taiwan have since resigned from their jobs — including national policy adviser Yan Chih-fa, DPP deputy director Lin Nan-ku, the deputy labor minister's secretary Tsai Mu-lin, and Chen's former supervisor DPP deputy secretary-general Hsu, per Focus Taiwan.
Last week, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also apologized for the second time over the sexual harassment allegations involving the DPP.
"As the President and former DPP chair, I'd like to apologize to the public again with the development of sexual harassment incidents by former party workers," wrote Tsai in her Facebook post on June 6.
Although the show's scriptwriters set out to produce a show about women in politics, talk of sexual harassment is unavoidable when depicting the challenges women face in the workplace, screenwriter Chien Li-ying told the Washington Post.
"Especially in organizations where the collective goal is prioritized over individual needs, there is often a culture of self-sacrifice," said Chien to the Washington Post. As part of the #MeToo wave, Chien also came forward with her own sexual assault story in a Facebook post on June 2.
"Wave Makers" is written by Chien Li-ying and Yan Shi-ji, and directed by Lin Chun-yang. The political drama series is available to be streamed on Netflix.
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