SINGAPORE - 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 their contract talks last year.
It also announced that she will 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 now, and 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 her former employer 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.
Mediacorp's head of studios, Ms Doreen Neo, 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."
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 and we regard all our artistes as colleagues and friends. We are anxious to clear up any misgivings."
Speaking to Zaobao again on Friday, Jin explained that she had been aggrieved and agitated during the previous interview, when the subject of her recent contract talks came up. She then made a mental association with the words that had hurt her long ago, and it all just came out, she said.
Jin had previously spoken to Zaobao for a zbNow cover story published on Wednesday. After she read the story, she called and thanked the reporter, choking back her tears. On Thursday, she thanked Zaobao again for drawing attention to the treatment of veteran actors.
The Straits Times has not been able to contact Jin.