“Bing Dwen Dwen started talking. I was so disappointed,” said a comment on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo. Others agreed, calling the voice “disgusting” and saying they couldn’t finish watching.
Bing Dwen Dwen – or rather, a journalist in an inflatable Bing Dwen Dwen suit – was interviewing Chinese freeskier Yang Shuorui. However, the content of the interview was lost in the storm of online outrage.
The backlash came quickly and appears to have taken the network by surprise – CCTV had promoted the program before it aired but pulled it from its website on Wednesday.
Censors also tried to stem the outcry, banning certain hashtags on Weibo like “Bing Dwen Dwen started talking”.
But not before many had the chance to share their disappointment.
“I was hurt…when I opened (the online shopping platform) Taobao and wanted to buy a Bing Dwen Dwen keychain, I thought of a man’s voice. middle age,” one social media user wrote.
“I don’t want to hear the ‘uncle’ voice of the Bing Dwen Dwen. He’s just a cute little panda,” said another.
According to state media, merchandise for the winter sports-equipped panda is “selling like hot cakes” as the Beijing organizing committee asked to increase the production of gifts to satisfy fans.
But the mascot’s popularity could take a hit after the latest outcry, which has even led some users to check the rules to point out that Olympic mascots are not supposed to speak under International Olympic Committee (IOC) guidelines, in order to maintain a neutral status. .
The Beijing Olympic Committee reportedly signed a contract with the IOC prohibiting Bing Dwen Dwen from speaking, according to Chinese newspaper Procuratorate Daily.