‘Wave Makers’: the Netflix show that has sparked a MeToo wave in Taiwan
(Credit: Netflix)

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'Wave Makers': the Netflix show that has sparked a MeToo wave in Taiwan

Taiwan is experiencing its own #MeToo reckoning, spurred by a hit Netflix series called Wave Makers

The show, which follows the lives of campaign staffers during a presidential election, has ignited more than a dozen real-life #MeToo accusations involving political figures on the island. The revelations have shaken the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, with resignations, investigations, and public apologies.

Kang Ting-yu, an associate professor specialising in gender and media studies at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University, said, “I know of multiple cases where they explicitly said they were inspired by the show,” 

While Taiwan has made strides in gender equality and LGBTQ rights, workplace sexual harassment remains prevalent. As per CNN, a woman surnamed Liao, mentioned how it took her two attempts to register a police complaint and a year for a government agency to “mediate” her case. The ruling substantiated her allegations. Liao revealed that she experienced sexual harassment during her time working for a local election campaign for the DPP 16 years ago.

Despite the optimistic portrayal of how sexual harassment complaints are handled, Wave Makers is being lauded for its impact. Liao noted, “If Taiwan’s #MeToo wave has come five years late, it would be great if we could seize the opportunity to reform the outdated laws on sexual harassment.”

President Tsai Ing-wen has issued apologies and pledged wide-ranging reforms, including a reexamination of mechanisms for reporting sexual harassment complaints and amendments to laws on gender equality.

On June 2nd, Tsai wrote in a Facebook post, “As the former party (DPP) chairman, I should bear full responsibility,” she further pledged to “reflect on our mistakes.” President Tsai has called on the public not to blame the victims and cause them further distress.

This #MeToo moment in Taiwan is being seen as just the beginning, with a call for social consensus and support across all segments of society for survivors.