Hong Kong - Stars from Andy Lau to Carina Lau to Cheng Pei-pei are speaking up for Stephen Chow, the comedy superstar who is once again under attack in the media.
In recent years, the likes of director Wong Jing have badmouthed Chow for being impossible to work with.
Now, Tiffany Chen, wife of fellow producer and China Star chairman Charles Heung, has raged at Chow after an article surfaced on a Chinese website last month, alleging that Heung might have played a part in sabotaging Chow's application to migrate to Canada years ago and creating an impression that Chow is unpopular with his colleagues.
Last week, Chen said her publicist had spoken to Chow personally, giving him 10 days to publicly distance himself from the article and to clear the air, reported Oriental Daily News. She also hit out at Chow on Weibo, saying he is disliked in the business and Andy Lau has told her he is not friends with Chow.
Lau has denied saying such a thing, however. Last Friday, he said: "I just said Mr Heung was, is and will be my good friend and good boss. I might not have expressed myself clearly and Mrs Heung might have misunderstood."
Lau, who starred with Chow in 1991's God Of Gamblers II and Tricky Brains, said they were busy filming at the time and did not form close bonds, reported NetEase website.
Asked if he was friends with Chow, Lau said: "I dare not say it, but I'm not worried that he might not think of me as a friend. I'm his fan."
Other stars have come to Chow's defence too. Cheng said on Weibo she "can't be ungrateful". She said she would not be recognised by millions of people in China if she had not acted in Chow's 1993 film Flirting Scholar.
Anita Yuen, who acted in Chow's 1994 film From Beijing With Love, said he gave her an opportunity when she was a newcomer. Asked about Chen's war of words on Chow, Yuen said: "I'm a kid. I won't comment on adults' affairs."
Karen Mok, a former girlfriend of Chow's who acted in a few of his films, said he took good care of other people.
Heung's alleged triad links have been reported by media outlets including Reuters. According to the article entitled "Why do so many people blacken Stephen Chow's name?" and posted on Sina website last month, Chow's application to migrate to Canada was denied because of his links to Heung.
The story also said director Wong, one of the key entertainment figures to have attacked Chow, was close to Heung.
Carina Lau tried to speak up for Chow last Saturday, but without taking sides. She described Chow as an outspoken and talented person whom she did not know well.
But she said she was a friend of Chen's and could understand why she was keen to defend her husband.