Mediacorp said on Friday that a hurtful remark recounted by its former artiste Jin Yinji during an interview was made more than 10 years ago, and not during contract talks last year.
It also announced that she would return in two upcoming shows, the 20-episode My Teacher Is A Thug and the 130-episode Life Less Ordinary. My Teacher Is A Thug is in production, while Life Less Ordinary will be in production from September to January next year, it said.
Jin, 70, left the company three months ago, after three decades. In an interview with Lianhe Zaobao, she said her talks with Mediacorp broke down after artiste management asked her to take a pay cut of two-thirds or more. She also recalled a conversation in which she was told the company would rather hire a $50-an-hour bit player.
Ms Doreen Neo, Mediacorp's head of studios, said in a statement: "The media reports about our contract negotiations with actress Jin Yinji are a matter of grave concern for us and we have investigated the specific remarks reported."
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She said it understood from Jin that the hurtful remark was "a passing comment made by someone who had no authority to discuss hiring, over casual conversation that took place some 10 years ago".
She added: "There might have been a misunderstanding leading to reports that Yinji saw a salary cut in the last financial year. For some artistes, the fixed salary component has decreased, but their overall compensation has increased because of the volume of work undertaken. We believe that Yinji was not talking about her overall compensation." She said she could not go into detail, as salary negotiations are confidential.
The statement added: "We value Yinji's contributions over the decades... We are anxious to clear up any misgivings."
Mediacorp also released a statement quoting Jin as clarifying that the bit-player remark was made more than 10 years ago.
It added that "when Today asked about her upcoming work, Jin Yinji said she was looking forward to her roles" in Life Less Ordinary and My Teacher Is A Thug.
Jin declined to speak to The Straits Times when contacted.