The incident illustrates the precarious position many Taiwanese celebrities find themselves in if they stray into political topics that anger communist authorities in China.
“Potter King”, an internet celebrity with a significant following on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, released a video over the weekend in which he tried out some of his pick-up lines on President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election in January and is loathed by Beijing.
The video quickly went viral, racking up more than three million views on Facebook and 500,000 views on YouTube.
But the footage led to a backlash with the Chinese web company that distributes Potter King’s videos on the mainland because he dared to address Taiwan’s leader as “president”.
YouTube is banned on the mainland but many celebrities and overseas social media channels sign deals with Chinese companies to host their content on platforms that are allowed beyond the Great Firewall.
On Sunday Potter King — real name Chen Chia-chin — posted chat logs between him and his Chinese distributor Papitube in which a representative demanded he take down the interview with Tsai.
Their main complaint was references to Tsai as president.
“If we can’t even address the head of state of my country as ‘president’, we do not think we want this business,” Potter King wrote on Facebook, calling the request “absurd”.
“The monthly loss will be quite significant, but we can’t bring ourselves to kneel down,” he added.